First framework to monitor and evaluate palliative care education in Africa

Categories: Education.

It’s been six years since a comprehensive assessment in 14 African countries was undertaken with a prominent need emerging: the need for a palliative care education M&E framework, unique to Africa. Why Africa? Because palliative care, as well as M&E, are both emerging fields on the continent. 

What differentiates the way it’s practiced from other countries is that Africa has a scarcity of resources in terms of early diagnosis. Diagnostic tests are not cheap, and it’s not common within most cultures in Africa to focus on prevention and early treatment, if it can be avoided. 

By the time many patients visit a doctor to be diagnosed with HIV, cancer, and other non-communicable diseases,  their disease is often in its advanced stage. Even at that point, treatment options are not guaranteed. Medicines are often beyond the patient’s purchasing power, and treatment options are often not accessible due to long waiting lists at public hospitals. 

This is where quality palliative care services can make all the difference. If a patient cannot afford treatment, they should at least be supported to live with dignity and without pain.

While M&E frameworks exist in other medical disciplines, when we’re dealing with these complex issues around palliative care in Africa – unique guidelines to evaluate programmatic impact on a patient’s life become a necessity.

Although the M&E framework has not been used before, data collection tools suggested in the framework have been used by many training institutions, on various training programmes, and in different countries in Africa to inform decision making.  Also, because the framework is the first of its kind in the region, evaluation of its usefulness will be done concurrently with its wider use.  Four sites will be selected in different countries where the framework will be piloted.  Findings from the pilot will then be used to review the framework and publication of the second edition. 

The framework will be freely available to non-governmental organizations, individuals and African Ministries of Health and can be adopted and adapted for use based on programmatic needs. 

The tool will be launched at the APCA/HPCA conference in Johannesburg, 17-20 September with a corresponding curriculum.

Do you have questions about how to improve your organisation’s monitoring of the way your programmes impact patient lives? Send Irene your questions.

The development of the framework was funded by The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund

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