Travel date: September 17, 2019
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 6th International African Palliative Care Conference
Origin: Blantyre, Malawi / Destination: Kigali, Rwanda
I attended the preconference workshop on multidisciplinary pain management where I learnt among others, the Essential Pain Management application which I eventually downloaded. The app is easy to use and helpful in directing pain management. I will share it with colleagues at my clinic to help improve our strategy in pain management. On top of this, I was also able to interact with other providers from various countries across the world. With two other researchers, one from Kenya and another from Uganda, we made a plan to collaborate on research in traditional medicine use in palliative care.
I will share what I learnt in multidisciplinary pain management together with the Essential Pain Management app with colleagues at my clinic to help us improve on pain management. I will do this by organizing a presentation followed by discussions focusing on integrating the strategy to suit our setting. The knowledge I have gained from the conference will help with my teaching of palliative care to undergraduate students as a Lecturer and again with the collaborations done, am motivated to carry out more research in partnership with various researchers.
These travelling scholarships are important and helpful in helping people participate in important events especially those facing huge financial challenges. It is also understandable that Scholarships like these meet with challenges of huge applications and limited funding. I would encourage that the Scholarship should be prioritized to those from low income countries and working with organizations which cannot fund their travel.
Main challenges in palliative care provision in my country Malawi include: Limited number of trained palliative care personnel at all levels of care, lack of an up to date palliative care policy which can guide on palliative care provision including drug accessibility including opioids and multi-sectoral funding to palliative care. I will use the knowledge and skills learnt to lobby with hospital leadership to organize local introductory trainings to health practitioners on palliative care and also work with the Palliative Care association of Malawi and Ministry of Health palliative care desk officer to ask for a review of the old palliative care policy which was developed in 2004 and possess significant gaps in palliative care service delivery.