In March 2020, as the first cases of COVID-19 were reported on the African continent, the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) began implementing a comprehensive communications plan to prevent and manage the spread of the disease. While many of the communications tools were developed to help national palliative care associations disseminate reliable public health information, they didn’t lose sight of end-users – patients and families receiving palliative care.
Their work has been multi-faceted, from the development of jingles and public service announcements that can be broadcast on TV, radio and through social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn, to infographics that help those with lower literacy levels understand how to avoid spreading the disease. APCA is also offering webinars to help members prepare responses to the COVID-19 crisis.
In addition, APCA is providing resources to national associations and ministries of health on how best to handle the integration of palliative care into health services being provided during the pandemic. In fact, both the national associations of Kenya and Uganda have been working on COVID-19 committees organized by their respective ministries of health. APCA is also sharing fundraising needs with donors so national associations can receive funding directly to support their engagement in the COVID-19 response.
One of APCA’s challenges is the vast number of local languages needed to reach those in rural, remote villages throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. English is the official national language in many countries of Eastern and Southern Africa and much of Western Africa is French speaking, but resources need to be in the many local languages as well. APCA is working with national associations to translate jingles and infographics.
Finally, APCA is leading research efforts to better support the COVID-19 response. Here is one opportunity to participate in this research:
Project on Palliative Care Content and Clinical Management Guidelines for COVID-19
Given the low coverage of palliative care services in Africa, and the need to equip health care professionals in palliative care provision, comprehensive case management guidelines that incorporate palliative care are essential. In partnership with King’s College London, the African Palliative Care Association invites you to participate in a study to identify and critically appraise the palliative care recommendations within COVID-19 case management guidelines in Africa. Participate by sharing your national COVID-19 clinical care guidelines. Reply to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
You can find more resources on palliative care and COVID-19 in Africa: COVID-19 resource page.