Global Partners in Care: Improving access to palliative care in Africa

Categories: Care.

Global Partners in Care, an affiliate of the US National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, this week announced that two U.S. organizations have signed partnership agreements with African health care organizations to improve access to hospice and palliative care in the countries of Tanzania and South Africa.

Commenting on the new agreements, Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, the Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association commented:

“The unique partnership model of Hospice and palliative care programs in the USA and Africa has improved health work exposure to best practice, positively impacted the quality of care and resulted in palliative care growth in Africa.” 

One of the US organizations, Halifax Health-Hospice, which is located in Florida has partnered with Izimbya Lutheran Hospital Bukoba, Kagera, which is located in northern Tanzania. Halifax Health – Hospice Social Worker, Brian Shea welcomed the partnering saying:

“We are very pleased to be partnered with Izimbya Lutheran Hospital because like us, they work with people in their homes and are affiliated with a hospital that supports them and they work with children in an orphanage,” 

Izymbya Lutheran Hospital is a small, rural healthcare organization with an average census between 60-80 patients per day.

“The reason we are doing this is because we understand we are fortunate,” says Shea.“Even though our resources to help patients in our community are limited we know we are blessed when we look at the resources developing countries are working with.”

The second US organization, Arm in Arm in Africa has a separate mission which is to provide support to help improve issues like poverty and disease in South Africa. The non-profit organization, whose headquarters are in Minneapolis, Minnesota, will work with St. Luke’s Hospice located in Cape Town, South Africa to help address some of the challenges St. Luke’s faces including fundraising for their program, communication difficulties related to unreliable technology and limited email access and the lack of palliative care training.

St. Luke’s cares for, on average, 870 hospice patients each day. According to their 2013 Annual Review, the majority of their patients come from the disadvantaged communities of Cape Town.

“Global Partners in Care is committed to supporting hospice and palliative care organizations in Africa…“ says Global Partners in Care Executive Director, John Mastrojohn. “A large percentage of the global need for palliative care is in low and middle income countries and we are eager to establish more partnerships in Africa and in other parts of the world where the need is great.”

To date there are more than 80 international partnerships between U.S. and international hospice and palliative care organizations.

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