Provision of Palliative Care Services for Cancer Patients in the Community in Africa

Document Type

Book Chapter



Publication (Name of Journal)

Palliative Care for Chronic Cancer Patients in the Community


Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Springer, Cham




World Health Organization (WHO) (The protocol for the WHO study on the effectiveness of community-based programmes for NCD prevention and control (No. NMH/NPH/NCP/03.09). World Health Organization, Geneva, 2003) predicts that by 2030, non-communicable diseases will be the leading cause of death in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2012, there were 645,000 new cancer cases and 456,000 cancer-related deaths in Africa. The need for palliative care in the region is expected to keep increasing. Palliative care is a relatively new field in Africa, and only about 5% of patients who need it can access it. Governments are investing more in cure and prevention, and very few have integrated palliative care into mainstream policies or created stand-alone policies.

WHO (1990) recommends a public health approach as the best in establishing and integrating palliative care. Sub-Saharan Africa is currently using the community-based models of providing care which involves a lot of community participation and provision of home-based care.

Many challenges still exist in service provision such as inability to reach rural populations who need the care most, unavailability of opioids and lack of financial support from governments.