Background Multi-disciplinary palliative care for patients with any disease is rarely integrated into the public healthcare system at all levels in Africa. In Kigali, Rwanda, we have developed palliative care services in a district general hospital and linked these services to home care using community health workers. In addition, the Ministry of Health recently approved a palliative care training curriculum for community health workers employed by the government who will expand and make sustainable palliative home care.
Aim The impact of Community health workers helped the district hospital to map patients with chronic diseases, palliative care and identify symptoms for better orientation.
Method At Kibagabaga Hospital, the public hospital for Gasabo District that includes 60% of the population of Kigali, we initiated a training of 481 community health workers (CHW), 1 CHW/per village for continuing care and retro-information to the District Palliative Care team through Health centre.
Results As of June 2014, community health workers had identified 432 patients and report has been sent to the district palliative care team for mapping. Anecdotal data indicates a high level of satisfaction by patients and family members with palliative care assisted at community level and a reduced stress of continuum care.
Conclusion It is feasible to integrate palliative care for patients at community level into public healthcare systems in Africa using Community health workers.
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