Great advocacy for children’s palliative care happening in Malawi

Categories: Community Engagement.

A report from Jean Tauze who leads the development of children’s palliative care in Malawi contains information on a variety of empowerment and advocacy events.  The report include details of empowerment meetings which regularly take place with children and caregivers to share knowledge, experiences and challenges, a community sensitisation day and a meeting between stakeholders and children with the Mayor of Lilongwe. The following are excerpts from the report: 

Empowerment meetings
Over the past year empowerment meetings have seen increased numbers of children and guardians attending. This shows that participants to the meetings understand and appreciate the need for children living with life limiting illnesses and their children to share knowledge, experiences and challenges. During these workshops, providers present sessions on topics which have been chosen by either the guardians or children themselves so that they can understand some of the issues better. To date over 500 children and their guardians have been sensitised and empowered on Children’s Palliative Care (CPC) issues.

Community sensitisation day
PACAM (Palliative Care Association of Malawi) organised a community sensitisation day which took place on 27th July 2013 in Lilongwe. The main aim was to sensitise communities on the availability of CPC services. Activities during the day included moving around the urban communities on a van which was covered with banners containing both English and vernacular messages about CPC and some with rights of children with life limiting/threatening illnesses, a health education band from the Ministry of Health which was singing songs with CPC messages. The van stopped in strategically chosen places where copies of the translated ICPCN Charter were given to people who showed interest. CPC and talks on CPC services and rights of children with life limiting/life threatening illnesses were given. Also mentioned during the talks were conditions eligible for palliative care and where people can access these services .The audience on every stop was given a chance to ask questions.

Children meet with mayor of Lilongwe
Another meeting between children and a policy maker took place on 4th October 2014 in Lilongwe. The guest of honour at this meeting was the Mayor of Lilongwe city. Children presented their voices and asked the mayor to consider them when making policies. Guardians too presented their challenges as they care for children with chronic illnesses. The Mayor who expressed his feeling of empathy on this day pledged support to CPC and commended the work done by service providers. He donated a MK50,000.00 towards the purchase of porridge flour for the children.

You can read the full report on the ICPCN website