A translated copy of the consensus statement is now available in Arabic, French and Portuguese ensuring that is read, understood and enacted by as many people as possible.
Delegations from the Ministries of Health from 14 African countries, as well as representatives from the African Union, travelled to Johannesburg in September 2013 to show support for a consensus statement on the integration of palliative care into healthcare systems in Africa.
After the meeting the consensus statement was revised by Dr Liz Gwyther, the CEO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) and Fatia Kiyange, the Programmes Director of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) for acceptance by the Ministers, who signed their support for:
- The development of policy frameworks that strengthen health systems, by the integration of palliative care into hospital and community home-based care health services in order to reduce the suffering of the African people with life-limiting illnesses such as HIV, cancer and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, who are living with pain and other burdensome symptoms.
- The integration of palliative care services into national health budgets to ensure sustainable services.
- The use of the already established global and regional frameworks provided by the African Union and WHO, to ensure availability of, and access to, essential medicines and technologies for the treatment of pain and other symptoms being experienced by so many in Africa, including children. This includes the procurement and distribution of morphine, to ensure greater availability and access of this main opioid for the management of moderate to severe pain.
- The integration of palliative care into the nursing, medical school and other relevant training curricula and pre-service training programmes such as those for pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and the clergy. In addition, support shall be provided to candidates who desire to take up a career in palliative care. In-service training and capacity building on palliative care for health care providers is also critical.
- The sharing of palliative care best practices in clinical care, effective models and education across the continent, to ensure peer-to-peer learning across borders. Such practices adopt holistic care approaches that focus on the physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of a person’s being, by use of multidisciplinary teams to reduce the suffering of patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The provision of palliative care for particularly vulnerable groups such as neonates, children, adolescents, people with disabilities, and the elderly is essential.
- The development of partnerships across the continent between governments and other players in health, to ensure the sustainability of palliative care responses across the continent as well as promote quality improvement approaches at all levels.
To view or download a copy of the document in Arabic, English, French or Portuguese, visit the African Palliative Care Association website.