Ministry of Health commits to Palliative care

Kabelo Dipholo
COMMITTED: Assistant Minister, Lelatisitswe

The Ministry of Health (MoH) has re-affirmed its commitment to providing palliative care and hospice.

This was affirmed by the Assistant Minister, Setlhomo Lelatisitswe, during the commemoration of the World Hospice and Palliative Care day in Francistown last weekend.

Botswana has been commemorating this international day since the year 2010.

Lelatisitswe said the government has embraced the global call to pursue Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and health systems strengthening in the context of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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These, he said, include among others, achieving universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential heath care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.

“Evidence shows that globally, each year, an estimated 40 million people are in need of palliative care; 78% of whom live in low and middle-income countries,” he said.

The assistant minister said according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), only about 14% of people who need palliative care worldwide currently receive it, which goes against the spirit of UHC.

The assistant minister further revealed that a 2003 study conducted by WHO in Botswana showed that patients in community home-based care suffered from severe pain due to these incurable diseases.

He said figures show that cancer in Botswana has been increasing at an alarming rate, with 27 000 cases registered between 2005 and 2018, and a diagnosis of 1 400 cancer cases per year of which 70 percent are diagnosed giving little chance for cure and treatment.

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“Our mission is to ensure provision of quality health care services to all our people, ensuring that they are sensitised and accorded an opportunity to appreciate the significance of palliative care in caring for the chronically and terminally ill patients, as well as those on end of life care,” he said.

The World Hospice and Palliative Care day was held under the theme ‘Healing Hearts and Communities’, which focuses on giving due recognition to the experience of grief and suffering occasioned by critical illnesses to not only the patients but their loved ones as well.

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