Various stakeholders are calling for added health sector financing to expand access to millions of patients who need palliative care every year.
The World Health Organisation is estimating that out of 57 million people who suffer from chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes, only 14 percent have access to palliative care.
Malita Sitampa is a mother of two. It has been 10 years since she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Every month, she is referred to Kamuzu Central Hospital for specialised treatment.
Sitampa travels to KCH every month
“Every month am required to travel to Lilongwe Central Hospital for treatment, it’s not easy to travel but am thankful for the financial assistance I get from Lifeline Malawi,” she said.
Size Mtengula from Ngoma Village in the area of TA Kambalame, a father of 8, said some fateful night, he was brutally attacked by a group of thugs and injured his spine. Today his lower limbs are paralysed and he cannot walk. The former mobile – phone technician adds all is not doom and gloom.
One of the country’s health activists, Maziko Matemba, emphasises that palliative care is a human right since it improves patients’ quality of life.
“it is important to have palliative care in hard-to-reach areas since it’s where most people live and if these people can’t be targeted, then we are missing a group of people,” he indicated.
Research shows households without access to appropriate palliative care face an additional burden of poverty when a family member is found with a chronic illness. Meanwhile, Lifeline Malawi’s Country Director, Justus Kanyuka, said the medical relief and development group has stepped up efforts in reaching out to those in need.
“We have 30 patients under palliative care, our team travels over 40 kilometres to visit the patients, and we give them food and non-food items,“ he added.
According to World Health Organisation, the highest numbers of those in need are in middle and low-income countries like Malawi, where access to quality palliative care services remains a challenge.
Reported by Secret Segula, MBC Online Services.