The Ministry of Health in the DRC recognises palliative care as one of the important components that is not well integrated in their health system and agreed to the necessity for its integration. There is a deliberate plan to include palliative care in the development of the next National Health Strategy and Development Plan in 2015, which will bring together all components of health care and an expectation for all interventions to be aligned with the plan, including operational plans for health zones.
Last week a palliative care scientific meeting brought together national level stakeholders as part of a series of activities for the review of the status of palliative care in the DRC. It brought together senior officials from the Ministry of Health and other key players including Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to reflect on palliative care and to develop a roadmap for its further development in the country. This was possible through technical support from the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) with financial support from USAID Southern Africa's Regional HIV/AIDS Program (RHAP) and the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).
"Key to the integration of palliative care is Primary Health Care as it allows for a global approach that meets the expectations of the sick people, health care providers and the general community," said Dr Mukenge Shayi Kupa, Director of Direction of Health Primary Care of the Ministry of Health of the DRC.
Other goals of the National Health Plan include the development of support for the health zones through multi-sectoral collaboration and improving the health and well-being of in the whole population.
Key priorities highlighted in the roadmap are to include:
Collaboration and networking will be critical in the implementation of this roadmap, with leadership and coordination from the Ministry of Health and continued technical and funding support from APCA and other development partners. APCA's Programmes Director, Ms Fatia Kiyange and Consultant, Colette Cunningham were in the DRC from 21-26 May to support these discussions for the development of a national roadmap for palliative care. As a result of the visit to DRC, strong collaborative relationships have been established between the Ministry of Health and other local stakeholders with APCA, including NGOs and Universities, among others.
With the leadership of the Ministry of Health and local stakeholders such as Pallia Familli; Elongo Elanga; Fondation Femme Plus and Magnificat, a roadmap for the integration of palliative care in the health system was drawn.
Click here to the the Lavenir Newspaper Kinshasa review of the scientific meetings (in French). Click here for an English translation of the Lavenir Newspaper Kinshasa meeting review.