The surge in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and the increase in cases of cancer and other co-infections across the general population have raised the need for mainstreaming extended forms of care and support. The introduction of palliative care emerged as one of the responses taken by FACT to minimize pain and suffering. Focus is on improving the quality of life of clients facing life threatening illnesses like cancer, diabetes and HIV through the prevention, assessment and treatment of pain and through response to physical, psycho-social and spiritual needs of both the client and the immediate family. The essence is to address the person holistically. Bereavement support is also a component of palliative care which aims at supporting surviving family members as an integral component of palliative care. Clients and service providers targeted by the program have come to appreciate the role played by PC in improving people’s lives. Key has been the transformed understanding that PC not only improves the quality of life of the sick clients but that of the whole family providing care. FACT continues to strengthen communities through service integration.
Supported by Tearfund UK since September 2011, FACT has been implementing the PC project which has the overall goal of improving the quality of life of patients with life threatening illnesses and their families. Three districts in Manicaland Province, namely Mutare Rural, Mutare Urban and Chimanimani continue to benefit from the PC interventions. The project targets patients with HIV, cancer and other non-communicable diseases and their families.To date, the project is enjoying the voluntary services of 90 palliative care givers,15 pastors and 45 nurses. 900 patients and their families received PC services, 900 orphans and vulnerable children are receiving psychosocial support, 122 clients have been assessed by the doctor and 50 patients with cancer have so far received strong relieving drugs such as morphine. The critical achievements of the project to date are:
- Improved two-way referral
- Improved pain management of patients with cancer through the support of the palliative care doctor.