The importance of monitoring and evaluation in palliative care

Categories: Policy.

The African Palliative Care Association (APCA) held their annual performance review and planning meeting at Makindye Country Club from 28th to 29th April 2014. The meeting was attended by all the APCA staff. It was a chance for the staff to not only celebrate each other’s successes but to also learn from their own and others mistakes.

Ultimately the review served as an opportunity to ensure that the whole organisation continued to work towards its mission:

to ensure palliative care is widely understood, integrated into health systems at all levels, and underpinned by evidence in order to reduce pain and suffering across Africa.

There are some good reasons why APCA believes in good M&E. These include that good M&E:

  • provides a consolidated source of information showcasing palliative care progress;
  • allows palliative care service providers to learn from each other’s experiences, building on expertise and knowledge;
  • provides a means for health care implementers seeking to learn from documented experiences and to incorporate them into policy and practices
  • contributes to transparency and accountability
  • reveals mistakes and offers paths for learning and improvements;
  • provides a basis for questioning and testing assumptions;
  • provides a way to assess the crucial link between palliative care service providers and    palliative care beneficiaries on the ground and decision-makers;
  • adds to the retention and development of institutional memory;
  • provides a more robust basis for raising funds and influencing policy.

At the heart of ensuring that APCA has strong M&E practice in place though is this commitment to the patients and their families and friends who benefit from good quality palliative care.

Too often organisations practice a ‘tick boxing’ exercise designed to keep donors or bosses happy. Throughout the meeting we looked at every aspect of APCA’s work and tried to keep the mission of APCA central to the whole analysis by asking ourselves – how does this work help to reduce pain and suffering across Africa?

APCA is committed to not only ensure that as an organization we have effective, transparent and comparable M&E to further the roll out of palliative care but that we support our partners across Africa to do the same.