Ready, Steady, Go for #ChilPalCare in Ghana

On Wednesday 3rd April ICPCN, in partnership with World Child Cancer, held the first in a series of ten webinars aiming to support health and social care professionals in Ghana to provide palliative care for children.

The ‘#ChilPalCare’ Project builds on a needs assessment undertaken in 2023 which found that there were at least 152,238 children in Ghana requiring palliative care and that one of the key barriers to CPC development in the country was the lack of education and training for health and social care professionals. Following a successful bid to the Thet Fund[1], the ‘#ChilPalCare’ Project was born.

Part of a broader one-year Education and Training programme, the webinars provide a key platform for bringing together professionals from all disciplines and settings to learn about CPC and how they can integrate this approach into their practice.

Kicking off the first webinar, Pinamang Boateng Desu (Country Coordinator for Ghana,  WCC)  gave a warm welcome to all delegates and Ayire Adongo (Regional Coordinator for Sub-Saharan Africa, WCC) gave an overview of the project and the many partners involved. One key partner in the project is the Association of Paediatric Palliative Medicine (the APPM) in the UK who will be providing speakers from within their membership to support future webinars.

The keynote speaker at this first webinar was Professor Julia Downing, CEO of the ICPCN.   Julia provided an introduction to children’s palliative care and the global and in-country needs of children with a range of conditions that may shorten their life.  Covering issues such as the numbers of children affected, the types of condition that might require a palliative care approach, she busted some of the common myths about CPC being about end-of-life care and mainly focussed on those with cancer.

160 people attended the webinar and all 327 people who had registered were invited to join a WhatsApp Community of Practice group in order to build a network and facilitate sharing of experiences, learning and challenges in providing palliative care in Ghana.  It is hoped that this group will build a strong network that can be sustained beyond the one-year funded project.

The next webinar in May will focus on providing psycho-social and spiritual support to children and their families, with future sessions covering assessment and management of pain and symptoms, neonatal palliative care, talking about death and dying, end of life care, grief and bereavement and looking after yourself and the team when working in CPC.

We look forward to sharing the progress of this important project and the impact that is made on CPC development in Ghana.

[1] This project is funded through the Global Health Workforce Programme, which is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) for the benefit of the UK and partner country health sectors.