IAHPC asks recipients of its $2,000 USD Traveling Scholarship grants to report on the events they attend. This month’s reports are by recipients who attended the 6th International African Palliative Care Association Conference, the EAPC World Congress, and the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference.
By Dr. Joseph Wangisani Chisaka, Lecturer in Palliative Care, University of Malawi-College of Medicine
The main challenges for palliative care provision in my country Malawi include: limited trained palliative care personnel at all levels of care; lack of up-to-date palliative care policies, including opioid accessibility; and the need for funding from multiple sectors to provide palliative care.
The 6th International African Palliative Care Association Conference gave me knowledge and skills to:
I will also organize a presentation at the clinic where I work, to share what I learned in multidisciplinary pain management, including the easy-to-use Essential Pain Management app.
I am also freshly motivated to carry out more research. I met two researchers, one from Kenya and another from Uganda, and we made a plan to collaborate on research in traditional medicine use in palliative care.
Oral presentation: The Use of Traditional Herbal Medicines among Palliative Care Patients at Mulanje Mission Hospital, Malawi.
By Dr. Olanrewaju Onigbogi, Department of Community Health and Primary Care, College of Medicine, University of Lagos
The new knowledge I gained at the APCA Conference, held in Rwanda this September, will be shared during one of the weekly departmental ground rounds for resident doctors to help them better understand palliative care.
The conference helped me to increase both my understanding of palliative care and networking opportunities with practitioners on the continent and beyond.
Poster: Willingness of Opinion Leaders to Participate in Community Action for Palliative Care in Universal Health Coverage in Lagos, Nigeria.
By Dr. Frank Manase, Palliative Care Physician, Founder & CEO of the Community Center for Preventive Medicine
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Major barriers to advancing palliative care in Tanzania include: lack of a good financing mechanism forces the majority of older people to pay directly for health services; delayed initiation of palliative care services for the needy; and poor coordination between social services and palliative care organizations.
Delayed detection and introduction of palliative care services often cause families to become bankrupt while the health of their loved deteriorates. Without early identification and introduction of palliative care services, palliative care will continue to be considered a last resort. This is a sign of failure of the heath care system.
Our emphasis at the Community Center for Preventive Medicine is to destroy this myth, and demonstrate that palliative care can reverse the wheel of suffering of an individual, adding value to the life lived by the ill person and their family members. Our initial results are promising. We look forward to engaging stakeholders outside the health care system, to enhance our innovative palliative care idea: to restore the well-being of older persons, enabling them to retain an important role in the community.
Oral presentations: Non-communicable Diseases, an Emerging Epidemic Requiring Palliative Care: Where are religious leaders?
Exploring the Feasibility of the Family-Cantered Health Care (FCHC), a Palliative Care Approach for Caring Older People in Tanzania: A quasi-experimental study.
By Charlotte Komunda Mirembe, Morphine Supply Chain Officer, Palliative Care Association of Uganda
I last attended this meeting in 2016 and I was impressed by the great progress in palliative care, especially on the African continent. In Uganda, there is a lack of validation of palliative care policy. Also, our palliative care services are donor funded, and most of the agencies providing services are experiencing challenges and facing vulnerabilities for the future.
I attended the pre-conference workshop on multidisciplinary pain management. I helped enact a pain-free hospital initiative in all regional referral hospitals in our country (involving about 12 out of 16 hospitals), whose purpose was to motivate health workers to integrate essential pain management in their routine practice. The APCA Conference was a wonderful opportunity to share my experience of this initiative, especially among those who thought that pain management was impossible.
I was also one of the rapporteurs at the conference, which exposed me to a great deal of new information, educational experience, and work accomplished on developing palliative care services. Much of this can be adopted in my own country.
Learn more about the Palliative Care Association of Uganda in the IAHPC Global Directory of Institutions and Organizations.
By Dr. Alvaro Méndez Guerra, Palliative Care Specialist, Maciel Hospital
Ciudad de la Costa, Uruguay
While the provision of palliative care has greatly improved in Uruguay, there is a lack of training. Currently, my job is to visit remote areas to teach health teams that have no palliative care training.
At the European Association for Palliative Care World Congress in May, I participated in the pre-congress course, EDUPALL; it was an excellent vehicle for learning. I learned that educators share common problems. The incorporation of palliative medicine within universities is an imperative to continue developing palliative care, and we are on that path.
The congress updated me on varied topics, such as delirium, heart failure, palliative care education, and palliative care research. I was introduced to ideas for research that could be done in Uruguay, and made contacts with fellow professionals with whom I could team.
Poster: Epidemiological Profile of the Malignant Bowel Obstruction in a Public Palliative Care Unit in Uruguay.
By Moelagi Leilani Jackson, Program Manager, Counties Manukau Health
Auckland, New Zealand
The Oceanic Palliative Care Conference, held in September in Australia, was quite refreshing because it highlighted to me that there is a wider community and a large interest in palliative care that I can tap into.
Everyone is looking for what works well in their own community.
I will use knowledge gained there to support organizations and workers as they advocate for better services, and encourage them to incorporate traditional knowledge and culture. These traditional systems have helped to sustain and maintain us through time and age.
The ability to merge and marry systems will add value to patients, families, and communities. No one system is necessarily superior to another. We can be the designers of a service that responds better to our own community.
Oral presentation: Tausiga Fa’aauau: Palliative Care in Samoa.
To find out more about IAHPC’s Program Support Grants, and our Traveling Scholarships and Traveling Fellowships, please visit our website. Through these programs we support projects and individuals around the world, especially in developing countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
You can contribute to this program and help palliative care workers attend and participate in congresses and courses by donating to the Traveling Scholarships Campaign in the Global Giving website.