Malawi Palliative Care
Chifundo, meaning "compassion" in the Chichewa language of Malawi, sums up the life-changing partnerships which bring healthcare to the poorest families in some of the most difficult-to-reach areas of Malawi. The Chifundo project was funded by the UK government's Department for International Development.
Malawi's healthcare challenge
With desperately under-resourced health facilities, these rural communities find themselves increasingly in need of palliative care due to the increase in life-limiting Non-Communicable Diseases such as cancer, diabetes and respiratory disease. The long-lasting effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic are taking their toll with just over 10% of Malawi’s 18 million people living with HIV.
Developing holistic palliative care
Chifundo offered a holistic approach, providing pain relief and treatment of symptoms alongside social and spiritual support to patients and their families. The project covered every district of Malawi and took Malawi to the highest level of integration of palliative care to the Malawian health service.
How your support transformed palliative care in Malawi
St Joseph's Hospital
The Chifundo project was built on the success of METHOD, another EMMS International project made possible thanks to UK government funding. METHOD introduced a palliative care degree programme in Malawi (only the 3rd of its kind in Africa) and established centres of excellence that could offer specialist care and give more healthcare workers a chance to learn these essential skills.
Through Chifundo, the palliative care skills and expertise were spread to 26 of 27 mainland districts. As a result, 30 rural health facilities achieved APCA standards and provide good quality free palliative care by adequately trained staff.
One such clinic was St Josephs Hospital in Chiradzulu district, which reached level 2 APCA standard, the highest possible for a facility of its size.
St. Joseph’s was mentored in Chifundo by EMMS International’s partner Palliative Care Support Trust. St. Joseph’s is a model mentee, in that it is still using the training and equipment that Chifundo brought to it and continues to care for families in need of palliative care. In Chifundo, St. Joseph’s had to prove and develop many things, including a properly equipped clinic room, staff trained in palliative care, availability of different types of pain-relief drugs, home visits to all patients at least monthly, referral of all palliative care families to training in conservation agriculture, and provision of food to palliative care families.
By the end of Chifundo in 2021, St. Joseph’s had cared for 110 families in need of palliative care over the three years of Chifundo. It is now caring for 40 palliative care families and will continue to do so, with new families enrolling as long-standing patients die or move away.
Every Life Matters
The Chifundo project was made possible thanks to your generous donations to the "Every Life Matters" appeal and match funding from the UK government. Thank you.