Integrating palliative care into national health systems in Africa: a multi–country intervention study

Liz Grant, Julia Downing, Emmanuel Luyikira, Mairead Murphy, Liz Namukwaya, Fatia Kiyange, Mackuline Atieno, Emily Kemigisha-Ssali, Jenny Hunt, Kaly Snell, Scott Murray, Mhoira Leng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)


The WHO is calling for the integration of palliative care in all health care settings globally.

A 3.5–year program was implemented in 12 government hospitals, three each in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. A four–pillared approach of advocacy, staff training, service delivery strengthening and international and regional partnership working was utilized. A baseline assessment was undertaken to ascertain needs, and 27 indicators were agreed to guide and evaluate the intervention. Data were also collected through surveys, interviews and focus groups.

Palliative care was integrated into all 12 hospital settings to various degrees through concurrent interventions of these four approaches. Overall, 218 advocacy activities were undertaken and 4153 community members attended awareness training. 781 staff were equipped with the skills and resources to cascade palliative care through their hospitals and into the community. Patients identified for palliative care increased by a factor of 2.7. All 12 hospitals had oral morphine available and consumption increased by a factor of 2.4 over two years. Twenty–two UK mentors contributed 750 volunteer days to support colleagues in each hospital transfer knowledge and skills.

Integration of palliative care within different government health services in Africa can be achieved through agreed interventions being delivered concurrently. These include advocacy at Ministry, Provincial and District level, intensive and wide–ranging training, clinical and support services supported by resources, including essential medicines, and an investment in partnerships between hospital, district and community.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.7189/jogh.07.010419
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Global Health
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2017


  • Palliative Care
  • Global Health


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