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Compassionate Palliative Services: a new actor in Ghana

Research output: Exhibits, objects and web-based outputsBlog

Publication date30/03/2023
Medium of outputOnline
<mark>Original language</mark>English


COMPASS-Ghana (COMpassionate PAlliative ServiceS) was registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CiO) in 2022. The organization is partnering with Ghana-based specialists to help address the urgent and critical need for Palliative and end-of-life care in Ghana and the wider Sub-Saharan region.

Their mission is to to reduce suffering and hardship in resource-poor communities by unlocking access to quality end-of-life care by working with local communities and trusted institutions. Their model delivers clinical expertise within the wider palliative disciplines but reflects the economic constraints of limited funding. End of life care is delivered through the existing infrastructure, so a separate hospice model is unnecessary.

This model closely follows the Kerala concept (Lancet, 2022, pp 874), where communities are enabled and empowered. Its support is delivered through technology, remote working and mobile clinics. Ghana does not have an established culture of volunteering, so their route for care support will be through family caregivers and the wider community.
Advocacy, stigma and other traditional barriers are being addressed through education, which targets youth (18 to 40) through radio and social media, Instagram being the platform of choice.

Centres of excellence for care and learning are being established within the acute teaching hospitals, with mobile clinics delivering multidisciplinary care to communities in support of the established district network – formal and informal.

The ambition is to grow communities and as confidence spreads and resilience emerges – the model will spread across Ghana and West Africa. We partner with, and support organisations across the Ashanti, Eastern and Greater Accra Regions of Ghana. Our work is embedding world-leading standards of palliative care into Ghanaian health systems. As we gain knowledge and experience, we will expand our scope to all regions in Ghana and then beyond. This is a collaborative journey, sharing best practices and learning with whomever we can. Research through Lancaster University led by Professor Nancy Preston will provide peer review and entrance to academia. Key focus is the development of outcome measures, access to pain relief, and the economic value to a community of a supported death, are but a few. To learn more about COMPASS-Ghana, click here.