15 African national associations meet to discuss joint regional advocacy strategy

Categories: Leadership.

15 African national palliative care associations met in Uganda last week to discuss the creation of a regional advocacy plan.

The meeting was coordinated by the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) and was funded by the International Palliative Care Initiative; The Open Society Foundations (IPCI/OSF).

The meeting was held on 25th September 2014 at the Imperial Golf View Hotel; Entebbe – Uganda and was attended by leaders of national palliative care associations from 15 countries.

These associations included:

  •  Hospice & Palliative Care Association of Cameroon,
  • Palliative Care Association of Cote d’Ivoire, 
  • Ghana Palliative Care Association, 
  • Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association, 
  • Palliative Care Association of Malawi, 
  • Mozambique Palliative Care Association, 
  • Hospice and Palliative care association of Nigeria, 
  • Hospice Palliative care association of South Africa, 
  • Tanzania Palliative Care Association, 
  • Palliative Care Association of Uganda, 
  • Palliative Care Alliance of Zambia, 
  • Hospice Palliative Care Association of Zimbabwe, 
  • Tunisian Association for the Promotion of Palliative Care, 
  • Moroccan Society for Palliative Care and Management of Pain-National Institute of Oncology, 
  • Botswana Hospice and Palliative Care Association, 
  • Rwanda Palliative Care Association.

The meeting reflected on how the changes and developments in global health will affect any future health planning and interventions, including palliative care. Topics covered at the meeting included; the need to fully integrate and make use of disease prevention and control opportunities as well as addressing patient safety in any setting of care; the increasing need to address chronic care needs of adults and children arising from more people living longer due to ARVs as well as the need for greater involvement of men in care.

There were are also issues relating to the unavailability of accurate palliative care data debated.

It was agreed that all these changes, developments and emerging issues are bound to take a center stage in future advocacy efforts for palliative care in the African region. It essential therefore that APCA brought together leaders of national palliative care associations with an aim of stock taking the advocacy strategies that have been used to advocate for palliative care in the past, and to assess whether these will continue to be effective or there is a need for innovations for future advocacy.

The advocacy strategy must constitute the key palliative care advocacy priorities shared throughout the region and would be key in guiding program development, implementation and evaluation to ensure that palliative care remains a relevant and sustainable service across the African region.

As such the objectives of the meeting were fivefold:

1.    To provide an opportunity for national palliative care associations from across Africa to share updates of their work.

2.    To share palliative care advocacy strategies implemented in the various countries, achievements, challenges, lessons and recommendations for future advocacy.

3.    To share innovations in palliative care advocacy with a view to its future strategic positioning and sustainability within a rapidly changing economic and development environments (how can palliative care stakeholders do business differently)?

4.    To agree an advocacy agenda/strategy for the African region which would guide programme development, implementation and measuring outcomes in the next 10 years.

5.    To discuss organizational development issues and the future of national and regional palliative care associations – Strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, changing roles and responsibilities, communication and collaboration issues as well as sustainability issues.

The meeting was very fruitful as leaders of national associations were able to share updates of their work in terms of advocacy. They also shared advocacy strategies implemented in the past including what worked well and what did not work including achievements, challenges, lessons and recommendations as well as proposed new innovations for palliative care advocacy.

Leaders of the national associations agreed on the need to have a new advocacy strategy/agenda which would inform palliative care advocacy interventions in the next 10 years. 

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