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Palliative Care Programme A Plus For Community Health Workers

Sixty-six community health workers graduated from the community palliative care programme on Thurs­day. The programme which streamlined training programmes for community health workers to better understand pallia­tive care protocols which lasted two weeks.
18 Sep 2022 13:00
Palliative Care Programme A Plus For Community Health Workers
From left: Fiji Cancer Society community Palliative Care Programme graduates Raveen Prasad, Sharika Shina and Irine Narayan following their graduation ceremony as health workers in the Central division on September 15, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Sixty-six community health workers graduated from the community palliative care programme on Thurs­day.

The programme which streamlined training programmes for community health workers to better understand pallia­tive care protocols which lasted two weeks.

The World Health Organisation defines palliative care as an approach that im­proves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness.

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services di­agnosed over 700 new cases of cancer per year.

While speaking at the event, Chief Surgeon Dr Josese Turagava commended the graduates for their added role within the ministry effort to provide quality health ser­vice.

He said while some cancers like breast cancer, colon can­cer and cervical cancer respond very well to treatment in early stages, the other cancers do not.

“Some types of cancers, even if they come in early, like bone and muscle cancer, have a poor prognosis in our set­ting,” Dr Turagava said.

“We are also aware of the need to address palliative care. Just because someone’s cancer is incurable, does not mean that we abandon them completely.”

Dr Turagava said the programme enables the community health workers to be more involved in their communities, specifically for palliative care patients.

 

“The care for cancer patients is a 24-hour service and the caregivers know that very well,” he said.

“Having community health workers next door to them in the middle of the night is a real advantage in the Ministry of Health programme to improve palliative care services.”

Executive Director for Women’s Fund Fiji, Menka Goundan congratulated the graduates and thanked them for showing interest in extending a helping hand to serve.

“We are confident that you will be able to put to practice the knowledge and skills learnt from the training,” Ms Goundan said.

“You will continue to share and impart these learning with members of your community.”

Chief executive officer for Fiji Cancer Society, Belinda Chan echoed similar sentiments, commending the gradu­ates for investing interest in undertaking the programme.

“This training has increased their knowledge base to­wards cancer, it will enable them to go out to the communi­ty and treat and accord what they have trained,” Ms Chan said.

Graduate praises programme

Sharika Shina, a graduate of the programme, heaped praises for the stakeholders in introducing such a pro­gramme to help community health workers.

“Before we didn’t know how to treat cancer patients in our community; with this programme it has allowed me and my colleague to execute practices we’ve learnt,” Ms Shina said.

“Cancer is a deadly diagnosis, if not identified at an early stage it would cost the family’s, relatives and patient life, so such training is quite relevant.”

Ms Shina first opened her community health service back in 2015, since then the mother of two has not looked back.

She is currently the community health worker for Davui­levu housing, overlooking the welfare of her community.

Story By: Jone Salusalu

Feedback: jone.salusalu@fijisun.com.fj



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