An online training programme on PC has been conducted for the Kingdom of Lesotho. The training was organised by Palliative care nurses; Mrs Tebello Malichaba Lepheane, Founder and CEO of Starlight Oasis of Hope Hospice [SOHH] (Program lead) and Mrs Erin Das, Programme Coordinator –PallCHASE. They wished all participants a good future as they navigate to integrate palliative care into their existing services and programmes. They also thanked all the faculty members and partners including APCA, Project ECHO, Palliative Care Works, and Ministry of Health and Social Development. They also thanked ICPCN and Prof Julia Downing for highlighting the needs of children and their families and supporting the training and development of children’s palliative care in Lesotho.
The online training programme commenced on 11 July and ran for 8 weeks. Participants were from a range of health and social care disciplines as well as Healthcare educators from across all 10 districts of the Kingdom of Lesotho. The faculty of trainers was also a diverse group of professionals from 11 different countries, all passionate about palliative care and the wellbeing of patients and their carers.
Training topics included:
- The concept of palliative care
- The palliative care needs of adults and children
- Culturally sensitive communication; spiritual & emotional support
- Pain assessment & management; symptom management
- The needs of cancer care patients in Lesotho
- Self-care for health and social care workers
Although the training was online and held in the evenings, the level of engagement and commitment by colleagues in Lesotho was heartening. A significant number of participants joined the sessions each week despite the challenge of network connectivity in Lesotho. The sessions consisted of didactic training and case presentations followed by small group work in breakout rooms. This enabled participants to share their knowledge and experience as well as learning new perspectives and challenge their mindsets around the issues in a palliative care.
Feedback from the sessions has been positive with appropriate questions asked which generated good discussions. The final evaluation shows that the attendees felt their perspective on the issue of palliative care has been positively shifted and they feel empowered to include and promote these perspectives in their practice.
Examples of feedback from the course include;
“Thank you, all faculty members, this training has been an eye opener and we promise to use this knowledge to improve services we render to our patients and their families. Lesotho shall never be the same”. (Registered Nurse – Ms Lucia Tsehloane)
“This has been an informative and interesting training session, thank you so much for making it happen”. (Dr Mosilinyane Letsie)
“We are looking to strengthened multi professional collaborations so as to enable seamless patient referrals between different disciplines as to promptly respond to the needs of patients and their families and entire service provision will improve.” (Social Worker – Mrs Mathabo Pama)
Closing remarks from Starlight Oasis of Hope Hospice trustee – Ms Harriet Verah expressed their sincere gratitude to all the faculty members, partners and participants for their 8 weeks commitment and encouraged practitioners to find a way of introducing positive change in their everyday practice.
ICPCN’s Chief Executive – Prof Julia Downing – said “We are delighted to be working with Tebello Malichaba Lepheane to support the development of palliative care in Lesotho – particularly for children. Over the years whilst working with APCA and ICPCN I have been involved in the development of palliative care in Lesotho and it is exciting to hear all that is happening in the country. We hope that the team will be able to build on the work done for children’s palliative care and utilise the resources developed with the Ministry of Health in Lesotho. We are looking forward to the next group of students and seeing the impact of the training on palliative care service provision.”
Another batch of online training is currently running- which started on the 5th September and will run for 8 weeks. 120 professionals have registered for this course. It is hoped that a Palliative and Hospice Care Association in Lesotho will help with palliative care development, awareness, and support, and will utilise the collective voice of all who are developing a passion for and interest in palliative care to join in the ongoing need to advocate for palliative care in Lesotho. This will include equitable access to essential medicines to provide effective pain management, especially long acting as well as liquid morphine, good communication skills, developing and growing an effective multi-disciplinary team approach, collaboration and ongoing Research and innovation for Palliative Care in Lesotho.
If you would like to be involved in this ongoing palliative care initiative in Lesotho you can get in touch with the team via email email@example.com or https://sohhospice.org.ls/switch-donations/ The team are also raising funds to support the development of palliative care in Lesotho e.g. to enable the outreach teams in Lesotho to deliver home care services and help end unnecessary suffering, and also to establish the first hospice in Lesotho through contributing to the building fund, sponsoring the salary of staff, assisting with buying medicines etc. Every little helps and the team at SOHH appreciate your support.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb