One Cause, Two Continents – Pediatric Palliative Care in Africa

2012-04-06 09:33:11 by Dr. Sarah Friebert, director - Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center, as posted on the inside.akronchildrens.org blog.

Here at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Management and Leadership Conference, there is a special breakfast to learn about a unique program that NHPCO offers, the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa (FHSSA).

The foundation’s mission is to build partnerships to enhance compassionate care in Africa by connecting partners from organizations across the U.S. to hospice and palliative care programs in 15 African countries. U.S. partners include hospices, palliative care programs, hospitals, universities, government and private grant-making entities, and others.

The relationships allow African partners to provide compassionate care to individuals, families and communities through health professionals as well as through volunteer caregiver networks in the community. Support runs the gamut from nutritional and medical supplies, to bedding, school uniforms for orphans and vulnerable children, to bicycles and other vehicles for transportation.

Called, “One cause, two continents,” this program provides a unique opportunity to spread the riches that we have here in the U.S. to foster idea-sharing, educational opportunities and professional exchanges; generate financial support for the African organizations through the activities and fundraising efforts of U.S. partners; and engage U.S. programs in improving quality hospice and palliative care internationally.

So far, over 95 U.S. partners have engaged in a sort of a “super pen pal” program. The commitment centers on maintaining regular contact (including visiting or exchanging personnel at least every other year), sharing educational information, and committing at least $5,000 annually in direct support.

Here’s where we come in. Of the 95+ established partnerships, several are supporting pediatric programs in Africa. But none of the U.S. partners is a pediatric program. So, I’m thinking this is another wonderful, first opportunity for Akron Children’s Hospital’s Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center.

How about we join the effort and sponsor a pediatric palliative care and/or hospice program in Africa? If we work together, the financial commitment will not be onerous, and what we gain and learn will far outshine what we give.

If you’re interested in participating in this international opportunity, contact the center at 330-543-3343 or email me at sfriebert@chmca.org.

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