Palliative care (PC) refers to active total care of clients living with a chronic illness such as cancers, HIV/AIDS and other illnesses and their families. This approach to care involves a team approach, enabling clients and families to achieve the best possible quality of life throughout the course of the illness and during the final stage of the client’s illness. The need for palliative care has become paramount with the increasing disease burden and terminal illnesses attributable to HIV and Cancers in Swaziland. Palliative care services in Swaziland have been provided in the country by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners to cater primarily for debilitating chronic illnesses. The MoH is committed in providing PC to poor and vulnerable populations especially women and children suffering from debilitating illnesses and that is why it takes the lead in guiding the implementation of palliative care.
Lack of palliative care results in untreated symptoms that hamper an individual’s ability to continue with their activities of daily life. Swaziland, with a high burden of HIV infection, has made palliative care part of the comprehensive care and support package for PLHIV.
Priorities and Strategies
- Evidence based palliative care policies and practice.
- Education and training of health care workers at all levels
- Provision of an uninterrupted supply of pain and palliative care medicines
- Foster partnerships with palliative funders and services providers
- Palliative care monitoring ,evaluation and research
The country aims at integrating palliative care services at all levels of service delivery. The aim of integration is to enable PLHIV to access different but connected health and psychosocial care services from one point of access rather than many fragmented services and providers.
- Improve the capacity of Health care Workers/ facilities to provide quality pain management.
- Development and review of IEC materials/ Job aids SOPs for pain management.
- Review the palliative care policy and strategic plan
- Procure pain management and chemotherapy medicines.
- Implement a quality assurance program for oral morphine production.
- Improve cancer management and support.
- Improve monitoring and evaluation of pain and cancer treatment services.