HEALTH AND CARE DEVELOPMENT:AN EXPLORATION OF FACTORS THAT HAMPER BETTER PALLIATIVE CARE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA (Published)
Palliative care is a special care for patients with active, progressive, advanced disease where the prognosis is short and the focus of care is the quality of life. It is a basic human right to provide comfort, assistance and relief. Its principles are not peculiar to the care of the dying but are the integral features of all good clinical care -freedom from pain and the alleviation so far as is possible, of all physical, psychosocial and spiritual suffering; the preservation of dignity; the utmost respect for honesty in all our dealings with these patients and their relatives. Palliative care remains significant in health care but its recognition in most sub Saharan African countries is low. Therefore, to help widen and sustain the scope of palliative care, this article aims to identify the factors that are impeding its development in Ghana. The research employed the use of interviews and questionnaires to retrieve information from a cross-section of health practitioners and general public across the country. The data showed that, many respondents from the general public had little or no knowledge about palliative care even though a similar method of care is provided for terminally ill relatives mostly in their homes. Respondents indicated factors such as; religio-cultural attitudes towards the death and dying, high cost of health care services and lack of funds for the provision of special care, as hampering palliative care in Ghana. As a result, this article prompts that palliative care must be a public health priority and there must be a merger of the general (Western) palliative care concept into that practiced in sub-Saharan Africa (which must adapt to the needs and context of care in Africa).