Mapping palliative care activity for the first time in the Eastern Mediterranean and Africa regions

Categories: Research.

Eastern Mediterranean

In the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean, palliative care is at the very early stages of development. Only a small fraction of the people who need palliative care are receiving it.

Estimates are at around 5%, meaning that 95% of people with serious illness are suffering needlessly!

The Atlas of Palliative Care in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (Eastern Mediterranean Atlas) is the first effort at systematically assessing the resources, activities, and needs for palliative care in the region.

It provides a clear comparative picture of the current state of palliative care development in a simple format using text, tables and maps based on information from national leaders in the field. This information is essential for the proper planning of the development of palliative care in the region.

The Atlas of Palliative Care in the Eastern Mediterranean Region is the product of a collaborative effort between the Lebanese Center for Palliative Care – Balsam in Beirut and the ATLANTES Research Program at the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra in Spain with support from the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Balsam is a nongovernmental organisation working to advance palliative care in Lebanon and the region through patient care, advocacy, capacity building, and research.

The ATLANTES Research Program aims to disseminate the message and values of palliative care in society and among professionals using multidisciplinary research. The ATLANTES team has conducted similar studies in Europe, Latin American, and Africa, producing atlases that have been used as important resources for the development of palliative care in those regions.

The teams on both sides of the Mediterranean collaborated on all stages of the research and writing process to produce a book that will inform and encourage the development of palliative care in the region.

Africa

The APCA Atlas of Palliative Care in Africa (APCA Atlas) was conceived in January 2016, aiming to provide comprehensive, up-to-date information on palliative care development in Africa. The Atlas was produced through a partnership among the following institutions: the African Palliative Care Association, the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the ATLANTES Research Program at the Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra.

The APCA Atlas of Palliative Care in Africa comes at a crucial time where palliative care is growing in African countries, but the growth has been unevenly distributed. It is the first report of its kind to comparatively analyse African countries’ progress in palliative care, and there has been no document providing a comprehensive overview of the palliative care situation in Africa in the past decade.

The APCA Atlas provides information on 48 of the 54 countries on the continent and provides a cross-country comparison of the progress of palliative care in Africa.

The authors plan to focus on disseminating this information to key experts in African countries so that it may be used for advocacy efforts in working with governments and Ministries of Health.

The authors of the APCA Atlas of Palliative Care in Africa said: “We truly thank all of those who volunteered their time for the project. We thank the key informants, country experts, and international committee members for all of their assistance in making this APCA Atlas a reality as well as their tireless work in building up palliative care in their respective countries.”

Ministries of Health in the two regions can use information from both the APCA and Eastern Mediterranean Atlases to set national strategies for the development of palliative care in their respective countries.

For more information on the Eastern Mediterranean Atlas, please contact Dr Hibah Osman, Executive Director/Medical Director, Lebanese Center for Palliative Care – Balsam, Beirut, Lebanon at h.osman@balsam-lb.org.

To find out more about the APCA Atlas, please contact John Rhee, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, at john.rhee@icahn.mssm.edu