In Africa, the need for palliative care provision is escalating with an increasing number of people living with HIV/AIDS, coupled with rising cancer and AIDS-related cancer diagnoses. In Uganda there is a shortage of doctors, particularly in rural areas. To address this Hospice Africa Uganda developed a Community Volunteer Programme to train volunteers to help by providing support to patients in their own homes. The aim of this qualitative study was to evaluate the impact of the Community Volunteer Programme. Sixty-four interviews, with patients (21), community volunteer workers (CVWs) (32), and the hospice clinical teams (11) were conducted, using semi-structured digitally recorded individual, group and focus group interviews, at the Hospice Africa Uganda sites. The results reported the value of the Community Volunteer Programme, including the impact on patients and families, and how the CVWs acted as a ‘bridge to the hospice’ in identifying patients. Developing financial challenges that are emerging which could potentially impact on the programme were reported. The Community Volunteer Programme appears to be having a positive impact on patients, families and the hospice team, and is a model worthy of consideration by other developing countries to allow the expansion of palliative care.
Jack, B., Birakurataki, J., Kirton, J., & Merriman, A. (2011). A Bridge to the Hospice: The impact of a Community Volunteer Programme in Uganda. Palliative Medicine, 25(7), 706-715. https://doi.org/10.1177/0269216310397566