The Center for Palliative Care, Nigeria (CPCN), a not-for-profit organization in Ibadan in collaboration with the Hospice and Palliative Care Department, University College Hospital (UCH) has taken laudable steps to foster a more robust community engagement in Oyo State through its sensitisation programmes organised recently across two (Ido and Ibadan North) local governments in Oyo State.
CPCN and Hospice & Palliative care dept, in commemoration of this year’s World Hospice Day tagged “Compassionate Communities: Public Health Approach” took to communities to decry the practice of individualism and anonymity influenced by urbanisation in communities and urged residents to return to a compassionate lifestyle where people care for one another.
According to the professionals in palliative care, compassionate communities will help to provide relief for several problems associated with serious illnesses thus making the quality of life better for patients and their families.
For families with patients diagnosed or experiencing life limiting diseases, the professionals affirmed that loving communities would reduce suffering, enable accessibility to quality healthcare and promote resilience in patients.
The Head of Department, Hospice and Palliative Care UCH, Dr Yetunde Oloyede said the sensitisation programmes aim to increase public awareness, penetrate communities and change their perception about what palliative care in medicine entails.
She mentioned that presently many members of communities cannot identify patients that need palliative care and those who do, often take the wrong routes in addressing the challenge.
The Guest Speaker in one of the sensitization programmes, Prof. Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, a Public Health physician, buttressed that palliative care is an inter-sectoral approach that offers comprehensive comfort care to patients of all ages and their families throughout the course of serious illness.
She described serious illness as any illness that is life-threatening and patients experiencing pain and other distressing symptoms. She tasked members of the communities to be involved in each other’s lives, serve as volunteers who would be trained in providing home-based care visit, counseling, social and spiritual support services.
The Center for Palliative Care Nigeria (CPCN) which has Prof. Olaitan Soyannwo as President was established in 2005 and has worked actively in collaboration with the Federal Government and NAFDAC to promote the availability and accessibility of pain medication (opioids) especially oral morphine for medical use in Nigerian hospitals.
Through CPCN, hundreds of health professionals from 17 hospitals across 15 states of the country have been trained and mentored to start palliative care services in their various hospitals.