Grantee details

Traveling Scholarships Program Report

Romance Djoumessi, DR

Travel date: October 18, 2016

Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 21st International Congress on Palliative Care

Origin: Bafoussam, Cameroon / Destination: Montreal, Canada


How was this meeting/activity helpful to you?

As a medical doctor striving to implement a palliative care project in the West Region of Cameroon, participating in this International Congress was so much enriching for me as I met many other PC workers intervening at different levels, with strong will and leadership competences. I learned a lot from the experience of “Pallia Family” in Congo, the Livingstone Central Hospital experience in integrating PC in Zambia, Tanzania and the components that driven the successful implementation of PC in Mongolia. They all have in common the extraordinary commitment in providing essential PC while striving to get involved the decision makers for recognition, assistance and scaling up to national levels. The congress offered to me a great opportunity to get in contact and learn from many organizations and NGOs in PC like Pallium Canada, Pallium India, Canadian Vitual Hospice and many others. Their different ways of organization and intervention were inspiring for new comers in PC like my country and I. Moreover, I learned a lot from discussions on clinical issues like, the fundamentals on the physiology of the end of life, Medical assistance in dying, integrating PC in cardiology or pediatric PC. These problems are frequently seen in our daily practice but most of the time mismanaged. The discussions on these topics have increased my knowledge on the subjects and I am sure, by sharing with my colleagues, they will improve our practice for quality care locally. Participating in this 21st International Congress on Palliative Care was a springboard to get into the great and large family of palliative care in the world. I have made many contacts in order to keep sharing and learn from these programs, and professionals across the globe.

How will you new knowledge & acquired skills help in furthering your work in hospice and palliative care in your program/city/ or country?

As we are still struggling for quality PC provision in our region, the knowledge in core subjects will help us to address our daily clinical issues. It will permit us to integrate PC in some services like cardiology and intensive care unit. This will be done through capacity building sessions that will be organized to foster a continuum of care. In a global perspective to scale up PC in our region, my colleagues and I, boostered by the recognition of this local work, are planning for more advocacy intended to hospital managers and health care administrative authorities for a more organized and integrated PC provision.

How IAHPC Traveling Scholarship be improved in order to help other future traveling scholars?

I am immensely grateful to the IAHPC for providing me with this financial support which has saved to attend this enriching event. Just some few recommendations: 1) The IAHPC traveling Scholarship is a great idea to support young PC workers committed to promoting PC, and should be continued 2) It could be a good idea asking to grantees to choose between receiving money or tickets/receipts booked and paid directly by IAHPC, as it could be more convenient for some to just receive those bills and avoid bank transfer fees.

Narrative summary highlighting the needs and challanges you face

The Bafoussam Regional Hospital is the reference hospital of the densely populated region of West Cameroon. This region is 13,892 km² of surface, but the second densest and 4th most populated of Cameroon, with a total population of 1,834,812 inhabitants (RGPH 2005). With the prevalence of HIV of 4.2% the cancer and HIV/AIDS related-need of PC is estimated at 9357 patients for this region. However, there was no organized offer of PC care before the creation of the mobile palliative care unit of the Bafoussam Regional Hospital in July 2013. Activities carried out by this unit are the healing of physical symptoms and pain with oral liquid morphine, psychosocial support of patients and their families, home visits and awareness campaigns on the existence of the service. This unit has been the sole in the region till the implementation of the “HoPE” project (Hospital Palliative care Engagement), funded by the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) in 2015. The main objective of the HoPE project was to integrate palliative care activities in the package of the health care system and launch palliative care provision and network in the Western Cameroon. Specifically, we: 1) Initiated doctors and nurses (43) in palliative care activities through training sessions, 2) Created and equipped mobile palliative care units (18) in different district hospitals in the west region of Cameroon and 3) Followed up and mentored activities of the created units. Despite our efforts, there are still many challenges. Firstly, there is still a large number of patients in need of this type of care in our region, since most of them cannot afford to come to hospitals and prefer integrated health care centers, where there is actually no PC worker. Secondly, the project is handled by new comers in PC provision, who need further trainings to be able to address complex clinical issues. Lastly, securing fund for training activities and PC provision is still a huge challenge, as this type of care is new in the region and potential local funders are reluctant to supporting it. I learned a lot from this 21st International Congress on Palliative Care. I met many other PC workers intervening at different levels with strong will and leadership competences. I learned a lot from the experience of “Pallia Family” in Congo, the Livingstone Central Hospital experience in integrating PC in Zambia, Tanzania and the components that driven the successful implementation of PC in Mongolia. They all have in common the extraordinary commitment in providing essential PC while striving to get involved the decision makers for recognition, assistance and scaling up to national levels. The congress offered to me a great opportunity to get in contact and learn from many organizations and NGOs in PC like Pallium Canada, Pallium India, Canadian Vitual Hospice and many others. Their different ways of organization and intervention were inspiring for new comers in PC like my country and I. My colleagues and I are boostered by the evidence of the importance of PC to the world and the recognition of our local work, are planning for more advocacy intended to hospital managers and health care administrative authorities for a more organized and integrated PC provision into the health care system. Moreover, I learned a lot from discussions on clinical issues like, the fundamentals on the physiology of the end of life, Medical assistance in dying, integrating of PC in cardiology, intensive care unit or pediatric PC. These problems are frequently seen in our daily practice but most of the time mismanaged. The discussion on these topics has increased my knowledge on the subjects and I am sure, by sharing with my colleagues, will foster good clinical practice and offer quality care locally. Participating in this 21st International Congress on Palliative Care was a springboard to get into the great and large family of palliative care in the world. This experience is actually impacting positively our palliative care provision and development approach.


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