Burkina/Health: Advocacy for better access to palliative care

The Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr Robert Kargougou, chaired the opening of an advocacy meeting for regional health directors and general directors of hospitals on strengthening the supply palliative care in hospitals. It was this Friday, November 11, 2022 at the Charles de Gaulle pediatric university hospital.

According to the World Health Organization, palliative care is active care delivered in a comprehensive approach to the person with a serious, progressive or terminal illness. The objective of palliative care is to relieve physical pain and other symptoms, but also to take into account psychological, social and spiritual suffering.

“Palliative care is the supportive care we provide to a patient when the healing journey is no longer possible and we have an end-of-life feeling of the healing aspects of people with life-threatening illnesses. We have a duty to accompany him, to assist him in his last moments and assist his family, to ensure that his quality of life can remain until the last moment”, explains Félicité W. Nana, director of the quality of care and patient safety at the Ministry of Health and Public Hygiene.

The participants will discuss the strengthening of the offer of palliative care in Burkina Faso

An opinion shared by Augustin Bambara, president of the Hospice Burkina association, which promotes palliative care. He indicates that palliative care should not be associated only with the end of life. “When there is no longer any hope of a cure, palliative care revalues ​​the last stage of life,” he underlines.

About 60,000 people need palliative care in Burkina Faso

According to the Minister of Health and Public Hygiene, Dr Robert Kargougou, the need for palliative care is increasing, given the upsurge in cases of cancer and other serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, end stage renal failure and diabetes. He indicates that in Burkina Faso, approximately 60,000 people need palliative care. However, the supply of palliative care remains insufficient.

As Félicité W. Nana explains, there are difficulties that hinder the provision of palliative care in Burkina Faso. “These are treatments that call on a multidisciplinary team. These are fairly specific types of care, because they require health professionals as well, but also other actors because the patient who needs palliative care has needs other than the curative aspect. They need psychosocial, social and community support and sometimes even a need for spiritual support that the health system alone cannot provide. So it is necessary to involve all stakeholders so that together we can combine our efforts to meet the expectations of these patients”.

Félicité W. Nana recalls that palliative care aims to support the patient and his family on several levels, when the curative course has shown its limits.

The meeting being held on November 11, 2022 is therefore an opportunity for regional health directors and general directors of hospitals to reflect on the issue of palliative care, so that populations have better access to this care. “This workshop would like to raise the level of palliative care provision in Burkina Faso because the need is growing. We are witnessing an increasing resurgence of diseases requiring this type of care, which is quite specific. We want to discuss again with the decision-makers, the actors of the system and see how to readapt our offer to these needs in order to be able to respond to the beneficiaries of this care, ”suggested Ms. Nana.

Dr. Laurent Moyenga, representative at the ceremony, the acting resident representative of the WHO indicated that this advocacy meeting is welcome and is intended to be the realization of a WHO resolution on palliative care. Indeed, in 2014, World Health Assembly Resolution 67.19 recognized palliative care as an ethical responsibility of health systems and called on WHO Member States to ensure its provision within the framework of comprehensive primary health care services.

Dr Laurent Moyenga congratulated the Burkinabè authorities for the actions already undertaken to strengthen palliative care in Burkina Faso

This is why Dr Moyenga wanted to congratulate the Burkinabè authorities for their commitment in this area. “Burkina is already implementing activities on strengthening palliative care in the country. These activities include the development of training modules, training and the production of morphine syrup. In addition, the WHO has developed and made available to Member States a series of guides including practical advice for evaluating and strengthening palliative care in health systems, but also for ensuring their gradual and successful integration. he indicated.

He also noted the priority actions to be taken into account in strengthening palliative care in Burkina Faso. These are the strengthening of governance, leadership, partnership and mobilization of resources; improving the availability of quality human resources at all levels, developing the supply of quality palliative care at all levels of the health system, including at community and home level, the availability of products health, technology, infrastructure and other equipment.

Justine Bonkoungou


Burkina/Health: Advocacy for better access to palliative care