Workshop on palliative care in Ghana organised with support from AfrOx, ASCO, UICC, APCA/True Colours Trust, Ghana Health Service, in May 2012.

In 2011 the Ghana Health Service and AfrOx, in collaboration with ASCO, APCA and Hospice Africa Uganda, (supported by Open Society Institute and National Cancer Institute, USA), ran a three day introductory workshop on palliative care for 111 health professionals from 9 out of the 10 regions of Ghana (including doctors, nurses, pharmacists and social workers).  

In 2012, the Ghana Health Service wanted to build on this programme by establishing model palliative care services in 6 hospitals (3 teaching hospitals and 3 regional hospitals), so that patients there would be able to get access to essential pain control medication and psychological support to reduce their suffering.  The palliative care teams established will support all patients, not just cancer patients.  The long-term goal of the programme is to establish a model that can be expanded across Ghana.

To initiate this programme, a 5 day training workshop was organised in May 2012 in collaboration with AfrOx and ASCO to provide initial training for multi-disciplinary teams from these 6 hospitals (Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra; Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi; Tamale Teaching Hospital, Tamale; Kumasi Regional hospital, Kumasi; Central Regional Hospital, Cape Coast; Ridge Hospital, Accra).

This programme aimed to provide the following benefits and outcomes:

  • Improve access to effective palliative care including affordable pain relief for cancer patients and other patients requiring such care in Ghana.
  • Support efforts to establish a national policy on palliative care for cancer patients.
  • Increase access to integrated palliative care services nationally by training health professionals across the country and establishing multidisciplinary palliative care teams in 6 hospitals (3 teaching hospitals and 3 regional hospitals).
  • Increase the number of trained doctors and nurses trained in palliative care.
  • Reduce stigmas around the prescription of morphine amongst health professionals.
  • Provision of training on advocacy.

The direct beneficiaries of the programme were the 63 health professionals, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical students, social workers, ngos and representatives of the Ghana Health Service, who were trained through this workshop. The training provided to the six teams from each hospital will be used as a template for the GHS to train other palliative care teams throughout their networks using trainers from the 6 teams that were trained. The long term aim is to establish a nationwide hospital-based palliative care service which will eventually lead to teams going into the community to provide services there as well.

ICRETT Workshops are made possible thanks to our generous supporters.