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The World Health Organization, through its public health approach to palliative care states that the implementation of palliative care must be founded on appropriate government policies, adequate drug availability, education of health professionals and implementation of palliative care at all levels. 

Central to the work of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) are patients, their families and carers.  They, and the millions of people who need palliative care but who are not fortunate enough to receive it, are behind that APCA does.  Over the last year we have developed a new strategic plan with a vision is to ensure access to palliative care for all in Africa. APCA ascribes to the World Health Organization’s public health approach to palliative care development and the mission is to ensure that palliative care is widely understood, integrated into health systems and underpinned by evidence in order to reduce pain and suffering across Africa.

In achieving the above mission, APCA has provided leadership & coordination in the development of palliative care awareness, policy, advocacy, education and quality improvement materials and resources tailored to the needs of Africa. African countries and organisations are receiving technical assistance in the adaptation of these resources. 

The resources are being translated into French and Portuguese for use in non-English speaking countries. They are being used in Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The resources, tailored to the palliative care needs in Africa, have been developed through consultative processes with palliative care experts from within Africa and internationally and are listed below: 

Resources for Policy

Guidelines for Ensuring Patient Access to, and Safe Management of, Controlled Medicines

These guidelines cover the essential regulatory and administrative measures needed by governments and implementers to achieve the essential balance between safely managing opioid medicines and ensuring that they are suitably accessible to patients needing pain relief.

Human rights, ethical and legal issues in palliative care – Guidelines for Health care providers

These guidelines, for health care professional ( can be adapted nationally) highlights the role of health care providers in supporting patients' rights in relation to access, humane and ethical care, and the delivery of palliative care. Posters are also available on patients’ rights and will making

Human rights, ethical and legal issues in palliative care – Guidelines for patients and families

Palliative care is founded on ethical values relating to a person, human care and treatment that together afford a patient with a serious illness a good quality of life, dignity in death and support for the family to cope. Palliative care is fundamental to health and human dignity and is a basic human right. Quality of life will be determined by the extent to which the patient and his/her family receive ethical care, including support with the legal and human rights needs. Everyone has a right to respect and dignity from those providing care.

Successful Advocacy for Palliative Care: A Toolkit

A guide for champions of palliative care across Africa, packed with advice for working with policy makers, the media and public, to win universal support for palliative care provision.  It provides useful frameworks for engaging governments to prioritise palliative care as an approach for health systems strengthening. 

Resources Supporting Access to Medicines

Use of controlled medicines in clinical practice in Africa: Model guidelines and reference tool (ENGLISH)

This document, a core component of the UNODC facilitated project funded by the Kingdom of Belgium and implemented by the African Palliative Care Association, aims to enhance access to internationally controlled medicines for medical and scientific purposes, initially in the Democratic Republic of Congo and subsequently across Africa. It leverages clinical guidelines from Uganda, South Africa, the World Health Organization, and various other sources, as detailed in its references, to serve as the primary reference for training health workers in hospitals on administering controlled medicines in areas such as mental, neurological and substance use disorders, palliative care, anaesthesia, the supply chain for controlled medicines, and other disciplines. Furthermore, it recommends that before any country adopts it, the content should undergo a review by technical and focal persons within the country to ensure its adaptation and adoption of new clinical guidelines for the use of controlled medicines in clinical practice.

Use of controlled medicines in clinical practice in Africa: Model guidelines and reference tool (FRENCH)

Document de référence pour la formation et les directives cliniques pour l’utilisation des medicaments controles dans la pratique clinique en Republique Democratique du Congo. Développé dans le cadre du projet soutenu par l’UN

Using Opioids to Manage Pain: A Pocket Guide for Health Professionals in Africa

A succinct guide to opioids for medical practitioners, this includes compelling justification for their use, myths about opioids, pain evaluation and how to use opioids to manage different levels of pain. This pocket guide is useful for supporting health professionals on pain management the use of opioids. 

Resources Supporting Education

Monitoring and Evaluation Framework

The framework can act as a roadmap for palliative care institutions and programme leaders, educators, trainers as well as government departments, that are involved with education and training in palliative care. It is designed as a tool for giving guidance to ensure that education and training interventions are properly implemented, monitored and evaluated. The framework ensures that any deviation can be noted and corrected early and that best practices and outstanding achievements inform future plans for palliative care education and training

Effective methods of teaching palliative care; a guide for educators and facilitators

For education to be competency-based and effective, appropriate training methodologies have to be used to support the learner to have the appropriate knowledge and to translate this knowledge into skills and competencies. Such education and training should lead to a change in attitudes, beliefs and values, thus making the palliative care graduate able to do their job very effectively. To that end, APCA has developed this new resource, which is a guide to effective teaching methodologies in palliative care, targeting educators and trainers across Africa.

Palliative Care for Women Living with HIV and Cervical Cancer

The information in this booklet is intended to help women living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as well as cancer of the cervix, their families and others in the community who support them. Individual situations might require specific information other than what is provided here but this document provides a good start towards understanding the role of palliative care for women living with HIV (WLHIV) and cervical cancer, their families and caregivers and health professionals.

Palliative Care Core Curriculum

To contribute to the availability of basic knowledge and skills for the provision of palliative care in Africa, APCA has developed a competency based core curriculum framework for use in introductory training on palliative care. The curriculum incorporates theoretical, practical, mentorship and supervision components that are critical to the effective application of knowledge in practice. 

A Framework of Core Competencies for Palliative Care Providers in Africa

To guide the provision of quality palliative care services across the African region, APCA has developed a framework of core palliative care competencies that can be used by service providers, educators and other stakeholders to guide programme development. .these competencies also provide useful guidance when designing and implementing targeted and effective education programmes in palliative care, aimed at producing highly competent care providers.

The Global Partners in Care Clinical placement guidelines

This Guide describes steps to conduct clinical placements in palliative care in an effort to expand palliative care education and training activities. It can serve as a resource for all stakeholders (i.e. national palliative care associations, public facilities and other organizations) interested in hosting clinical placements as a way to increase the number of palliative care professionals in Africa. These Guidelines can also be adapted by African Governments in their own settings. The goals of the Guidelines are to ensure quality clinical placements that will:  increase stakeholders’ knowledge about palliative care; better integrate palliative care into health and education systems and national health policies; increase the number of skilled health care professionals who are aware of, and committed to, the holistic benefits of palliative care; improve palliative care clinical sites across Africa; and develop mentors in palliative care.

Resources Supporting Implementation

Essential Palliative Care Package For Universal Health Coverage, September, 2019

Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is key to the Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to provide all people with access to necessary health services, including palliative care, without financial hardship. This approach not only targets health and well-being for all ages under SDG 3 but also emphasizes the importance of quality care and financial protection, particularly for the poorest. Palliative care, as part of UHC, focuses on improving life quality for those with life-threatening illnesses by addressing various forms of suffering, ensuring dignity and evidence-based care.

APCA Standards for Providing Quality Palliative Care across Africa

Specifically tailored to ensure provision of high-quality palliative care, the Standards cover the provision of all aspects of holistic palliative care at primary, intermediary and specialist (Tertiary) levels of service delivery.  APCA encourages stakeholders to adapt these standards to their country situation and therefore to support the adaptation process and therefore adaptation guidelines are provided as part of this resource. The standards are also support by a set of core Competencies that are vital for palliative care practitioners. So far, the standards have been used in Swaziland and Zimbabwe to audit palliative care providing sites and plans are underway in Zambia to undertake quality improvement audits on their sites. APCA also provides technical assistance to country teams to adopt and adapt the standards within the wider country policy framework to inform palliative care service provision. 

Beating Pain: A Pocket Guide for Pain Management in Africa

Compact and easily portable, Beating Pain contains a wealth of information for health professionals on pain management in the African context – with special attention to children’s needs. It is accompanied by a CD for self-directed learning with a corresponding module for each chapter of the book, and case studies of adults and children to enhance learning. This pocket guide is currently being used by various audiences as reference material after introductory palliative care and pain management courses for both in-service and pre-service health professionals including doctors and nurses. Copies have also been disseminated to policy makers and national stakeholders for palliative care, teams from medical and nursing schools that intend to integrate palliative care into health teaching institutions in various countries in Africa and internationally abroad

Palliative care : A Handbook of Palliative Care in Africa

Aimed at clinicians as well as the general population, this comprehensive manual contains essential information on holistic palliative care provision in the African context, including the multi-disciplinary approach and particular coverage of children’s needs.  This handbook is useful for general education on palliative care as well as a reference guide for palliative care information for all stakeholders.

Human rights, ethical and legal issues in palliative care – Guidelines for patients and families

This guideline for patients and their families, highlights patients' rights in relation to access, humane and ethical care, and the delivery of palliative care. The guide helps patients to understand their rights in relation to the care received, provides insights into the common legal and human-rights issues they may encounter, and encourages them to share these with their health care provider for support.

Guidelines for the Use of the APCA African Palliative Outcome Scale (POS)

These guides provides a simple tool for measuring care outcomes for patients receiving palliative care. This guide walks you through the steps of using the POS tool, how to analyse and use the data for improvement of patient care. There are two versions for adults and children.

Guidelines for the Use of the APCA African Children’s Palliative Outcome Scale (POS)

These guides provides a simple tool for measuring care outcomes for patients receiving palliative care. This guide walks you through the steps of using the POS tool, how to analyse and use the data for improvement of patient care. There are two versions for adults and children.