|The Zimbabwe Palliative Care Initiative (PCI-Z), represents a collaborative response to the urgent and vast need for hospice and palliative care services across the country. Currently, Zimbabwe has a 14.3% HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, with over 1,600 people dying every week and about a million AIDS orphans (UNAIDS, 2009). It is ravaged by poverty, hunger, and unemployment, and currently has one of the world’s lowest average life expectancies at birth: 42 years for women and men (UNAIDS, 2006). PCI-Z is the coordinated effort of multiple partners and donors to scale-up palliative care, particularly in rural areas. FHSSA is the prime recipient of the funding and works closely with our implementing partner - Island Hospice Service located in the capital city of Harare. Island Hospice was Africa’s first hospice program.
The aim of PCI-Z is to add palliative care to existing rural, volunteer home-based care teams, with Island Hospice providing training and ongoing mentorship in palliative care. Securing access to palliative medicines is a main emphasis. The project also helps to identify vulnerable and marginalized youth, and provide them support through rural Youth Care Clubs. In addition, long-term palliative care leadership is being developed through physician certification in palliative medicine, and includes planning for the addition of palliative care curriculum in the medical school at the University of Zimbabwe.
Mutambara UMC hospice caregivers graduation wearing their new uniforms
The other implementing partners are the United Methodist Church health system, Seke Rural Hospice, Bulawayo Hospice, and Simbabane. The SAYWHAT organization is providing training for the Youth Care Clubs.
|Results to date include the development of palliative care at six rural implementing sites: Chikwaka, Mutambara, Nyadire, Island Hospice Bulawayo, Simbabne, and Seke. In addition, training and mentorship has been provided to 10 non-profit agencies delivering home-based care. As a result, over 1,000 beneficiaries are being served each day in home-based care, and over 400 youth are active in the Youth Care Clubs. Forty-six health professionals and 430 Home Based Care Volunteers have been trained in palliative care. In addition, four physicians have completed the diploma course in palliative medicine at The University of Cape Town and a committee is actively working on a similar course at the University of Zimbabwe. An “Essential Palliative Care Medicines” list has been produced, and Direct Relief has provided twice-a-year shipping consignments of needed medicines and supplies.
Funding partners in this initiative include: UK Department for International Development (DFID), Ford Foundation, Open Society Institute, American Jewish World Services, UMCOR, Direct Relief International, and US hospices that are partnered with PCI-Z hospices in Zimbabwe. These partners include Arkansas Hospice, Community Hospice, Hospice of Central New York, Hospice of Larimer County, VITAS® East Bay, and VITAS® San Bernandino. Initial funding for PCI-Z was provided by the St. Paul’s and Bel-Air United Methodist Churches in Maryland, and members of the FHSSA Board of Directors.
These efforts will continue and grow, with continuation and additional funding to be solicited in the coming years. The complex clinical, economic, and political issues related to medication availability will continue to be addressed through collaboration, advocacy, and planning based on outcomes data.
FHSSA thanks every individual donor, funding partner, and partner hospice for their support in this effort.
For further information, contact Shelley Smith at email@example.com