Training on palliative care for doctors and nurses working at Mbeya Consultant Hospital in Tanzania

Categories: Education.

Mbeya Consultant Hospital
is situated in the South West Highlands of Tanzania, and has a catchment of
five administrative regions which are Iringa, Ruvuma, Rukwa, Njombe and Katavi.

These regions are the
hardest hit by HIV/AIDS in Tanzania.

The Mbeya region has a HIV/AIDS
prevalence of 9.0% which is about twice as much as the national average. Mbeya
Consultant Hospital receives patient, who are at a critical stage.

Equally, Cervical Cancer,
of which Tanzania is in prevalence among East African countries, accounts for about
60% of all gynaecological problems at Mbeya Consultant Hospital’s
gynaecological department. This means that often the hospital bed capacity is beyond

In Tanzania 80% of
cancer patients reach hospital at their late stages and are eligible for
palliative care. Such chronic condition provides a need for palliative care.
This requires health workers to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and
skills in palliative care to help the patients.

On job training in
palliative care and preventive activities often becomes the only option to
achieve greater staff knowledge.

The planned palliative
care training will be a five days activity that will include sixty frontline nurses
and doctors who are working in the Medical, HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Centre (CTC)
and Obstetrics and Gynaecology Departments.

It will be conducted in
a competence based approach designed to enable a healthcare provider to affirm
life and the idea of dying as a normal process. It will also aim to provide
relief from pain and other symptoms by integrating the psychological and spiritual
aspects of patient care as well as offering a support system to help patients
live as active as possible life until death.

The training will also offer
a support system to help the family cope during the patient’s illness and in
their own environment.

The TANNA President, Ligmas
Samuel of Mbeya Consultant Hospital commented on the training saying, “This is an opportunity [for staff] to gain
skills that will enable us to provide palliative care with competencies to our

This training will aim
to help frontline clinicians and nurses in understanding pain management, death
and dying issues and physiological symptoms, and effective communication.

The training will take
place from 11th to 15th August 2014, at Mbeya hospital centre of excellence
hall, the whole activity projected to cost Tsh. 39,630,000/= ($24,000), a
comprehensive report will be produced within five working days.

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