Palliative Care Services Lag Behind in Malawi
Palliative care specialist, Dr. Cornelius Huwa, says Malawi continues to lag behind in meeting palliative care targets close to 20 years after government mainstreamed palliative care in its health system.
Dr. Huwa observes that this is the scenario even when all district hospitals and CHAM hospitals are offering the service.
“To reach the target, a nation has to reach one per cent of its population with palliative care but currently only half of one per cent of the country’s population is on palliative care,” he said.
Chronically sick people deserve palliative care which comprise strong pain killers, physical, psychosocial, nutritional and spiritual support.
Executive Director of Palliative Care Association of Malawi (PACAM), Lameck Thambo, has blamed inadequate trained staff and shortage of pain killer morphine on problems affecting effective delivery of care.
“Though we have these challenges, we as a nation (we) are slowly doing better as evidenced by the increasing number of health facilities that are offering the service currently at 92,” said Thambo.
Meanwhile Head of Primary Health Department at Mulanje Mission Hospital, Tikondwe Katumbi, says the facility has intensified promotion of climate smart agriculture and nutrition in its palliative care section.
“We have been providing medical care to chronically sick patients leaving out another crucial element which is nutrition. Now without promoting climate smart agriculture, we cannot have nutritious food and this is the reason we are promoting climate smart agriculture and nutrition in our palliative care section,” said Tikondwe.