‘The most helpful thing for us’- this was the feedback we received from a surgical resident at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital as we shared with him the link to the ethiopianpalliativecare.com website. The website was developed in 2020 by Dr. Nicola Ayers and the World Hospice Palliative Care Alliance to offer Ethiopian doctors, nurses, and other health care workers a library of resources on hospice and palliative care from around the globe which was relevant for Ethiopian health care practitioners.
Ethiopia has a population of over 116 million people, many of whom live in rural areas. Providing palliative care coverage is a challenge for the second-largest country in Africa. Using a public health approach, palliative care has been part of the Federal Ministry of Health’s annual plan since 2015. Training and education have been a key part of the strategy to make palliative care available.
As we planned the website we had to think of access, as internet bandwidth can sometimes be an issue. So, we developed a simple webpage that provides palliative care resources such as the National Palliative Care Guidelines, other government policies, global palliative care information, teaching materials, information on pain and symptom control, and other helpful resources. The aim of the website is to advance palliative care as part of Universal Health Coverage in Ethiopia.
Furthermore, ethiopianpalliativecare.com offers a repository of current research articles that have been conducted in Ethiopia. It provides patient stories and information about Hospice Ethiopia so health care professionals can refer patients for home visits. It also supplies phone numbers and contact information for health care professionals who require further support.
Palliative care professionals have provided the website information to students as they have provided both face-to-face and remote learning over the last year and it has received very positive feedback. Students have told us that it has been helpful as it ‘offers a lot of information all on one site and that ‘it is a ‘go to’ website that is like a library for us’.
The plan is to continue to update the site with new information and the latest research articles to support health care professionals as they seek to learn about palliative care in order to provide quality care for their patients and families.
We are very grateful to our partners who have provided information and allowed access to documents for the website. These include Federal Ministry of Health, World Health Organization, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, African Palliative Care Association, American Cancer Society, Palliative Care Works, Hospice Ethiopia and researchers from the palliative care community in Ethiopia, UK and USA. We also very much appreciate the Joffe Charitable Trust that made this possible by providing relevant funding.