Travel date: May 30, 2018
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 3rd ICPCN Conference: Inspiration, Innovation, Integration
Origin: Blantyre, Malawi / Destination: Durban, South Africa
The 3rd ICPCN conference which took place in South Africa between 30th May to 2nd June 2018 was a success. The conference brought together delegates from all over the world. It was an opportunity to get inspired, share experiences, knowledge and skills. The workshops and presentations all spoke in one language of advancing pediatric palliative care across the globe. It was a chance to meet friends in the field of palliative care and learn from each other, new friendships were made.
The skills generally will help a lot as I have secured a new post in a organization that deals with non communicable disease. In this new area palliative care is very important because the two go together. On top of that I will advocate for access of palliative care service by all patients in at the institution. Pediatric palliative care is a great need in every corner of the world but the service is not reaching out to all children in need hence the need to advocate for the service, allocate enough resources and time towards pediatric palliative care and train more providers and researchers in pediatric palliative care. Formation of African Children`s Palliative Care network is good initiative in this respect especially for advocacy. In addition to that I learnt the best methodologies which can be used in qualitative studies in pediatric palliative care. This was an interesting area for me having a desire to pursue research in palliative care. There is great need for research in pediatric palliative care because of numerous questions that need scientific answers. I also learn the proper use of non-pharmacological measures of managing pain and other symptoms like breathlessness. Management of complex symptoms sessions attracted a lot of delegates and I happened to attend the sessions. It was great noting that it`s not always about prescribing analgesics but there are other non medicinal measures that can be employed to relieve pain in a patient. But knowing them and using them on a patient are two different things. Now these sessions shared practical ways of using these measures. Music and play-therapy are good examples of the non-pharmacological measures that would be used. One other lesson learnt was about the approaches which can be used to advocate for children palliative care. One important approach is to target important people, whether leaders/decision makers in an institution or community, convince them about the issue of palliative care. This can have a great impact on the community at large. Apart from that, the social media can as well be used to spread messages about pediatric palliative care. The impact of social media on people around the world cannot be over emphasized. The other lesson learnt was on how to present points on poster presentations. Being a first exposure, there was opportunity to appreciate how different authors organize their work and present on a poster.
I would like to thank IAHPC for their financial support towards registration and Air ticket. The support made everything go smoothly. May God bless you, you have contributed to advancement of pediatric care in Malawi. Secondly thanks to the medical director and the whole management team of Palliative Care Support trust for the support towards accommodation. This made me ready each day to be part each day of the conference. You also gave me encouragement to go represent the organization. May the almighty God bless you.
Apart from the many great lessons learnt at the conference, this event had a number of benefits to almost every delegate. The first thing had been a chance to meet friends and make new friends. Having one goal of reaching out to children in need made this easy. This opportunity to network with other organizations and individuals is great milestone towards having improved pediatric palliative care. It was also great to move out of the clinical area and breathe out while learning and enjoying the beauty of Durban. Third ICPCN conference in Durban, South Africa was a very important platform for learning about pediatric palliative care. The knowledge and skills gained from there shall benefit patients under care.