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Lancet. 2005 Jun 4-10;365(9475):1971-7.

Palliative care in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Department of Palliative Care and Policy, Guy's King's & St Thomas' School of Medicine, King's College London, Weston Education Centre, Cutcombe Road, London SE5 9PJ, UK.


Control of pain and symptoms and terminal care are necessary for quality HIV and cancer care in sub-Saharan Africa. However, what constitutes feasible, accessible, and effective palliative care, and how to develop such services, remains to be resolved. Africa-specific palliative care includes components that carry resource implications. Home and community-based care has been largely successful, but community capacity and the resources and clinical supervision necessary to sustain quality care are lacking. Coverage and referrals must be primary concerns. Simple lay and professional protocols have been developed, but opioid availability remains a major constraint. Areas of good practice, and areas where further success may be achieved include: attention to community needs and capacity; explicit frameworks for service development and palliative-care integration throughout the disease course (including antiretroviral provision); further education and protocols; strengthening and dissemination of diverse referral and care systems; increasing advocacy; and funding and technical skills to build audit and quality assessment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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