According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the Malawi health system ranks 185 out of 190, and most patients with cancer are diagnosed too late for any curative treatment. Palliative care service provision is rudimentary at best, and many die in severe pain. For terminally ill patients who require palliative care, the burden is much greater, and they face a further challenge in living through the last few days of their lives. The country also does not have an operational cancer policy or strategy. Cancer screening is generally not available in the public healthcare system and treatment through radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or through the administration of oral morphine are also non-existent.
Chalker Foundation for Africa is working with Ndi Moyo to improve the living standards and the dignity of at least 200 palliative care patients living with life-limiting illnesses, by significantly reducing the pain and suffering in their lives. With 2,233 palliative care service providers, less than 10 percent provide any active, hands-on palliative care services within the country.
The project will operate from Salima, which is in the central region of Malawi, and Ndi Moyo plans to collaborate with other government and mission health facilities within and beyond the district. It will reinforce the training it already provides to healthcare professionals from those organisations in order to disseminate active palliative care service provision within the participating centres; mentor and support trained health professional at their current work places; as well as conduct networking meetings at Ndi Moyo to report and review progress and challenges that need to be resolved.
Through this partnership, Ndi Moyo aims to:
- Strengthen the capacity among palliative care providers to deliver high quality services, through successful mentoring and supervising of the trained Palliative Care Initiators within the Ndi Moyo network
- Increase access to palliative care services, including improved access to essential palliative care medicines
- Build greater knowledge and awareness among people and health facilities of the importance of improving palliative care services.