IAHPC Traveling Scholars’ Reports

2014; Volume 15, No 6, June

IAHPC Traveling Scholars’ Reports

VII Congress of the Latin American Association for Palliative Care

Medellin, Colombia

­Report by Vilma Tripodoro (Argentina)

Argentina is a large South American country with a clear need for further development of palliative care. Problems in the healthcare system may be attributed to: fragmentation of the system; unsuitable treatment prioritization; inequalities in healthcare provision; outsourcing of management responsibilities; inadequate legal framework; inadequate policies for the provision of drugs; limited public healthcare promotion and disease prevention policies; lack of universal healthcare insurance coverage; and inadequate quality control policies.

On the other hand, with life expectancy increasing in parts of the region, cardiovascular and malignant diseases have become manifest. Today, more than two thirds of all reported mortality is due to chronic diseases and external causes. There is insufficient collaboration and coordination among different programs.

Despite these limitations, it is highly probable that most of the positive changes observed in clinical practice and policies have their origins in the educational effort of a few health workers who deserve strong encouragement and much support.

Thanks to a Traveling Scholarship grant I received from IAHPC, I was able to travel to Colombia to attend to the VII Congreso de Cuidados Paliativos. This experience was very valuable for me. It was a great opportunity to meet colleagues and share professional experiences in palliative care. The knowledge I achieved from sharing with my colleagues in different settings was very useful for me.

I participated in workshops and meetings in leadership that focused primarily on public health programs in palliative care. It was also a very good setting in which to explore my own skills and knowledge and think about how I might pursue the development of quality palliative care programs in my country.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the IAHPC and the ALCP for providing me the opportunity to take part in this Congress. This kind of event promotes regional integration, commitment and encourages health professionals to participate actively.

Dr. Vilma Tripodoro
Chief of Palliative Care Program
Instituto de Investigaciones Médicas A. Lanari. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Report by Kimberly Arguello, (Costa Rica)

On March 12, 2014, I participated in my first Latin-American Congress, thanks to a grant awarded by the IAHPC. This permitted me to observe and hear how colleagues elsewhere care for terminal patients and their families.

As a psychologist, we work with hopelessness, anticipatory grief, depression and acceptance of a new reality. We deal with it in different ways, taking into consideration: religion, spirituality, personal coping and the culture of each country.

In Costa Rica, psychologists do not perform investigations of how best to treat patients. I thought this only occurred in my country, however I realize now that in general psychologists find it difficult to publish about their work and experiences with patients.

The lectures and workshops which I attended showed me another perspective of the therapeutic approach, and the possibilities of using various instruments to assess the level of pain. These practical resources will help us to understand the pain and suffering that our patients go through.

Being a member of a team that works together with others was emphasized. Often we find doctors who believe that their most important work is to prescribe drugs and our work is less important. I was very pleased to hear renowned professionals knowledgeable in the practice of palliative care reiterate the need to understand man as a bio-psychosocial entity.

It doesn´t matter what title you have, if you don´t work as a team, you go nowhere. We must all keep the same goal, believing in the work of the others and relying on their knowledge.

I appreciate the value of this training which allowed me to be in touch with our partners in Latin America, have access to education and research, and to help us develop a method to reach our goal of offering quality care that enhances the life of our patients and their families.

Kimberly Arguello
Psychologist
Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social
San Jose, Costa Rica


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