With the emergence of palliative care as a multi-disciplinary field that requires an evidence-based approach, a void in research infrastructure has become evident among policy advocates.
This May, at the 12th Congress of the European Association of Palliative Care (EAPC), a formative meeting of the African Palliative Care Research Network (APCRN) took place to address this very issue in Lisbon, Portugal. Participants included the current and incoming presidents of the EAPC (Professor Lukas Radbruch, University of Berlin, Germany; and Professor Sheila Payne, University of Lancaster, England).
One of the major outcomes of the conference in regards to advancing a palliative care research agenda, was the establishment of a small working group to help APCA push forward the formation of the APCRN. The group also discussed how the APCRN could be further advanced through the EAPC in a taskforce (which has since been established) dedicated solely to advancing palliative care in Africa.
"Despite the need for methodologically robust palliative care research to inform the delivery of effective and appropriate care in Africa, the infrastructure needed to enable the development of that evidence base is largely absent", said Tony Powell, APCA's Director of Learning and Research.
The primary objectives of the APCRN include:
Funding has been secured to hold a formal meeting of the working group in Kampala, Uganda, in 2012. With the goal of developing a clear strategy and way forward for the network, the purpose of this meeting will be to forge collaboration between established African palliative care and health researchers with key European and North American partners.