There are so many things that differ from country to country, continent to continent, and all around the world. There’s different ideologies, religions, cultures, customs, and languages. Different foods, faces, and climates. The world is so expansive, and we are so distanced from other parts of the earth, that another continent can sometimes feel like another planet.
Despite the distance, and the differing ways we live, no matter where we are, there is one need that is constant in all parts of the world – the need for quality palliative, hospice, and end of life care. That’s why Celtic Healthcare has teamed up with the Palliative Care Support Trust (PCST) in Malawi, Africa in order to promote education and development in end of life care.
Celtic and PCST were brought together by an organization called Global Partners in Care. Global Partners in Care operates with the mission to create worldwide partnerships that enhance global compassionate care, and improve access to hospice and palliative care for all nations. Their program enables U.S. hospice and palliative care organizations to support similar organizations in developing countries. The goal is for partners to engage in capacity-building, strategic planning, education, fundraising, and technical assistance to improve services for those in need.
PCST focuses on providing quality end of life care to patients and families in need in Malawi, one of the poorest African countries. Additionally, they provide training and education programs to nurses, teaching them the basics of palliative care so they can better serve their communities. The medical director of PCST is Dr. Cornelius Huwa, a man born and raised in Malawi. He saw a tremendous need for this type of care in his country.
“Malawi is one of the poorest countries with the lowest Gross Domestic Production (GPD) and highest disease burden which heavily relies on a free public health service that only provides basic healthcare,” Dr. Cornelius said. “The need for support for families and the patients are enormous and range from physical, social, psychological and spiritual needs.”
Dr. Cornelius attended the only medical school in the country of Malawi, the College of Medicine, a constituent of the University of Malawi. After graduating there, he became the first Malawian doctor to show interest in hospice and palliative care in the country. With this interest in mind and the need for this care increasing, Dr. Cornelius began studying palliative medicine at the University of Cape Town in the Republic of South Africa. He has completed his post-graduate education in palliative care and is currently completing his master’s degree with the same expertise. He hopes to graduate with his master’s in June of 2017.
“Being a medical director [of PCST], I am in charge of all administrative and clinical oversight for the trust,” Dr. Cornelius said. “We have both the adult and children palliative Care. I work in both. We have a team of nursing and clinical staff that manage most of the patients we see. We also conduct home visits and home care for patients who are discharged from the hospital on palliative care.”
Palliative care has only been around in Malawi for 14 – 15 years, so being that it is a rather new idea, Cornelius is paving the way for his country. As a result of his work, Dr. Cornelius will be attending the American Academy for the Hospice and Palliative Care Medicine Summit in Phoenix, AZ to present his work and spread awareness of his palliative program. Dr. Cornelius hopes to be able to visit some Celtic locations while he is traveling in the U.S.
“We would like to thank the staff of Celtic Healthcare and Global Partners in Care for the opportunity to link up and support the work we are doing here in Malawi,” Dr. Cornelius said. “Though you may be far away, you have touched us already and have given us reasons to fight on as we provide the much-needed care to those who need it most, our palliative care patients and families.”
While there is certainly not a lack of passion and drive, there is struggle with having the proper resources to constantly conduct such care. That’s where our global partnership comes in. An immediate need for clinical educational tools were identified, so materials containing clinician reference guides and other educational items were mailed to assist Cornelius and PCST.
The support does not end there, and we need your help to continue the support we provide to Dr. Cornelius and our global partner, PCST. As our first effort in raising money for our global partner, a t-shirt fundraiser is being hosted in which all proceeds go to the PCST. You can find the t-shirts and donate through the banner on your CIP homepage or at this link: https://www.booster.com/providing-hope?type=1&side=front.
We hope this partnership proves to be very positive and educational, so please help support us and our Global Partner in Care, Palliative Care Support Trust by assisting in providing “compassionate care where the need is great and resources are few.” If you are a Celtic employee and would like to learn more or get involved with this very worthy program, reach out to Hospice Operations Manager Rochelle Hobson, Volunteer Coordinator Kelly McAndrew, or Marketing Coordinator Amy Devening.
Be on the lookout for part 2 of this blog series where we’ll discuss how this partnership came to be as well as introduce the documentary, “Road to Hope.”
Blog post by Troy Abbott – Assistant to Director of Strategic Projects for the CEO