International palliative care mentors come to Kibagabaga Hospital, Rwanda
In April 2012, the Global Health Academy was awarded a 1.54 million grant from THET (the Tropical Health Education Trust) for an innovative programme to strengthen palliative care within the national health service of four African countries Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.
Working in partnership with our sister University in Uganda, the Makerere University Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) and the African Palliative Care Association (APCA), our Primary Palliative Care Research Group within the Academy have been developing a new 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 in order to enhance the provision of treatment, care and support for people living with life limiting illnesses.
The project works with twelve hospitals and their associated community clinics (3 in each country) to establish replicable models of palliative care. The different hospitals: Tertiary referral hospitals, District hospitals, Rural based hospitals and University training hospitals are building palliative care differently, with trainings, services, outward networks reflecting their catchment area and the service demands.
As part of the exchange of ideas and practice 12 UK mentor hubs are linking with the 12 hospitals. These hubs with volunteer experts in palliative care from many different disciplines, (nursing, medicine, social work, systems management, IT, pharmacy) are motivated by a desire both to share their skills and knowledge and help embed the trainings that are being given by APCA and MPCU and the palliative care champions within country and also to learn lessons from different local health service and system contexts which can contribute to better palliative care in the UK.
One example of this exciting work is given in this article written by Dr Christian Ntizimira, the Rwanda Ministry of Health’s appointed Palliative Care Expert and Educator, on the visit by the palliative care mentors to Kibagabaga Hospital in Rwanda.