The APCA/HPCA conference on palliative care in Africa was a real eye opener in relation to issues that have been challenging to us as a country, especially with regards to monitoring and evaluation, and palliative care indicators.
Since palliative care is so broad and comprehensive, we have had challenges in Swaziland when we were requested by the strategic information department to submit our indicators to be incorporated into the health management information system. But having attended the sessions at the conference that addressed M&E in the palliative care framework, we will now be in position to align our indicators to what the international world is expecting and draft our own framework guided by the framework developed by APCA.
Indeed, I was so impressed to learn that the issue of indicators is being addressed by APCA.
As a country, we also need to conduct palliative care related research so that our practice will be informed by the relevant facts. In fact, Swaziland will be conducting its own health conference in 2014 and I think that – with the knowledge I have gained from this conference – we will now be in a better position to conduct key research, which will be shared during that conference.
Another issue that was discussed is the place of prevention in palliative care. This was largely neglected up until now, but we have a huge role as palliative care service providers to play in prevention. With this knowledge, I will advocate that palliative care providers be represented in prevention technical working group meetings and start incorporating prevention as we implement.
As a recommendation, we need to have more forums such as this where we can share what we are doing in relation to palliative care more frequently – and where UN bodies will be present to give guidance.
And finally, the palliative care agenda needs to be included in SADC agenda as it is included in other bodies like the African Union.