In April 2012, the UK Department for International Development approved a three-year project through its Health Partnerships Multi-country Partnership Scheme to support the programme for strengthening palliative care integration into national health systems in four African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia).  The grant was awarded via the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) to the Global Health Academy at the University of Edinburgh (UoE), working in partnership with the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) and Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) and in conjunction with the Ministries of health  and the national palliative care associations or organisations in each country to deliver the programme of work. The project is funded through the Health Partnership Scheme, which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) for the benefit of the UK and partner country health sectors.

Project Description

The intent of the project is to enhance the provision of quality and comprehensive treatment, care and support for people living with HIV/AIDS and other life-limiting illnesses in 4 African countries (Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia) in order to contribute to achieving the targets of Millennium Development Goal 6 (MDG 6). The project  goal is to support the development of a comprehensive public and primary health approach to palliative care that includes service provision, support systems and supply chain mechanisms that are firmly integrated into the health system.   The project is building on the different stages of development that countries are at in order to share learning, and working with Ministries of Health (MOH), and through the National Palliative Care Associations or Organisations.  The project has adopted a multi-layered approach working with 12 strategic public hospitals (3 in each country) and their associated health centres to focus on;

§                  Strengthening the knowledge, skills and acceptability of palliative care among 480 health workers (from senior policy and management to community practitioner) to deliver integrated holistic care through a range of on-site (hospital/health centre) multi-disciplinary, multi-cadre trainings, and the development and implementation of contextualised patient and provider resources.

§                  UK mentors are leveraged to facilitate and grow a mentorship programme with each hospital in the 4 African countries matched to a lead UK mentor and a small mentorship support network.   ( this is known as a hub)

§                  Establishing and integrating pathways (including through mobile health)  for diagnosis, treatment and care through a multi-level health care team alongside development of protocols, planning templates for health service management to, record keeping and patient documentation  to draw together all palliative care work

§                  Brokering linkages across budgetary, national policy and regulatory frameworks to on-the-ground practice; in order to establish a whole system approach to palliation by working with senior management and palliative care partners; and strengthening advocacy.

§                  Strengthening and uniting the current multiple community responses to palliative care, and building on community capital through a public engagement approach with local champions and opinion makers.