Travel date: October 18, 2016
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 21st International Congress on Palliative Care
Origin: Lusaka, Zambia / Destination: Montreal, Canada
Passion: The passion that was exhibited by the conference delegates was of great inspiration to me. Many people travelled several thousands of miles others crossing Oceans and Seas to be part of this great congress, for the purpose of people with life limiting conditions. The attendance of the congress was remarkable. Activities: Activities done by most providers of Palliative Care were small and at a very small scale but was life changing. These greatly encouraged me and was reminded of Mother Teresa’s quotes “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies” and “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.”. Service Provision: The use of art, touch and music in the provision of palliative care was another tool that was learnt in the provision of palliative care. Contacts were established in the use of touch in palliative care and may have our first training early 2018 based on a new curriculum currently being developed by possible partners. Resources: Most Palliative Care units had limited resources, but this did not hinder them from providing quality Palliative Care. Most tried to integrate PC in their already existing health care systems, hence cost effective holistic care can be provided within the resources of the already existing health systems. Partnership: No man is an Island, the need of partnership was over emphasized and hence a networking lunch was organized. Through this and indeed the entire conference, working links were established.
My presence at the congress itself was of great inspiration to the team and myself as an individual, it helped us realize that the little strides we were making as a team to integrate palliative care at our hospital was appreciated elsewhere to be considered at such a high profile congress. Most palliative units had inadequate resources and this was not an hindrance to their provision of care. It has given us extra zeal to continue providing the care even with inadequate resources and we will try to integrate as much as possible palliative care in our health system. The Palliative Care Alliance Zambia (PCAZ) lack of funding has impacted negatively on advocacy for PC in Zambia. Lessons learnt from the conference have given me the zeal to start advocacy for PC at national level, this will be done with the support of the team at Livingstone Central Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospice, both from Livingstone, Zambia. Research and documentations of our activities will be done so as to share our experiences across the country and globe with the view of influencing policy direction and attract funding for PC activities.
It should be maintained at the maximum of USD 2000 generally, however in some instances depending on need maybe more. It should continue to be sent to the scholars as this helps the scholar plan well. The global giving initiative was a great idea and will continue to contribute to it. We need to continue selling this concept
Palliative care provision in Livingstone, Zambia. Introduction: Livingstone, previous the provincial capital of Southern Province, is the tourist capital of Zambia. It is home of the Victoria Falls, which are locally called the Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “the smoke that thunders.” It’s a border town to Zimbabwe and also gives access to Botswana and Namibia by road. Its population was 142,034 in 2010 (Central Statistics Office). History of Palliative Care Services in Livingstone: Palliative care (PC) was first provided by St. Francis Community Integrated Care Programme (St. Francis Home Based Care). It was established in 1993 by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters for Africa in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Catholic Diocese of Livingstone. It sort to alleviate the increasing burden on the health services. In 2008, St Joseph’s Hospice was opened. The idea of a hospice was conceived by Br Rudolph, a Franciscan Capuchin Missionary who observed that many terminally ill patients were left to die without human dignity due to the lack of proper PC. A needs assessment showed that the hospice was necessary and that would be supported by the community. The hospice was opened by the Most. Rev. Raymond Mpezele, the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, on March 25th 2008 and received its first patients on April 1st, 2008. In 2012, the Palliative Care Alliance Zambia (PCAZ), trained the first team of 15 health care workers from Livingstone Central Hospital (LCH) in the basics of palliative care and pain management who later became the LCH Palliative Care Team (LCH-PCT) and defied all odds to become a case model of integrating PC within a government hospital setting. Successes: The presences of other units providing PC in Livingstone was seen as an opportunity for the LCH-PCT, we incorporated the hospice, home based care unit and the district health management team to form the Livingstone palliative care team. Maramba Old Peoples Home (MOPH) was incorporated and continue to provide PC services to the home. Mentorship from PCAZ continued since the initial training and were instrumental in further trainings at diploma level at Makerere University in Uganda. To date 5 staff have been trained at diploma level. The team has shared its experiences at both local and international conferences and meetings. Countries visited include Canada, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Successfully commemorated the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day since 2012. The hospice remained open at the time when many other hospices were closing due to lack of funding. A collaborative partnership with government, who provided the core clinical staff allowed the hospice to spread its limited resources widely. Have continued to host international and local organisations in Livingstone to share our experiences of integration. Challenges: In as much as Livingstone has recorded successes in PC provision, other districts and the country as a whole are still struggling. Lack of funding to PCAZ has negatively affected PC advocacy in Zambia. Financial support still remains a challenge especially with operations at the hospice. Still face resistance with health care providers to adopt PC in their line of work. Lessons from the 21st Congress on Palliative Care: The Palliative Care Alliance Zambia (PCAZ) lack of funding has impacted negatively on advocacy for PC in Zambia. Lessons learnt from the conference have given me the zeal to start advocacy for PC at national level, this will be done with the support of the team at Livingstone Central Hospital and St Joseph’s Hospice, both from Livingstone, Zambia. Research and documentations of our activities will be done so as to share our experiences across the country and globe with the view of influencing policy direction on PC. This may help us attract funding and partners towards PC activities. Conclusion: In a country like Zambia where palliative care and hospices are a relatively new concept and lacking any policy and institutional framework, lobbying government through relevant institutions such as PCAZ and religious bodies on the need to recognize the significant and complimentary role of hospices is critical for long-term sustainability. It’s possible to integrate palliative care in government hospitals and probably the way to go.