Driven by a profound desire to reduce unnecessary pain and suffering from life-limiting illnesses across Africa, APCA was formally founded in Tanzania in 2004. They work collaboratively with existing and potential providers of palliative care services to help expand service provision (although they don't provide direct clinical care to people living with progressive, life-limiting illnesses). They also work with governments and policymakers to ensure the optimum policy and regulatory framework exists for the development of palliative care across Africa.
APCA was established after a meeting in Cape Town in 2002 of 28 palliative care trainers from across Africa. The group produced the Cape Town Declaration, which holds palliative care and pain and symptom control as a human right for every adult and child with life-limiting illnesses. In addition, such care should be incorporated into national health care strategies, making it accessible and affordable for all in Africa.
Thanks to Uganda's pioneering record in palliative care on the continent, APCA's head office was established in 2005 in the country's capital, Kampala, where several centres of palliative care expertise exist. They've since opened a regional office in Namibia, to enable them to better reach the Southern African region – but they work across the entire continent to promote palliative care for all in need.
Information, Integration, Evidence
There are three key elements to APCA's work to bring palliative care to all who need it in Africa:
Information: Increasing knowledge and awareness of palliative care among all stakeholders
Integration: Strengthening health systems by integrating palliative care at all levels
Evidence: Building a sound evidence base for palliative care in Africa
Vision and Mission
The African Palliative Care Association's (APCA) mission is to ensure palliative care is widely understood, integrated into health systems at all levels, and underpinned by evidence in order to reduce pain and suffering across Africa.
With the vision to promote access to palliative care for all in Africa, APCA's activities embody the following core values:
Collaboration: They work collaboratively, by asking for and giving support, and sharing success with others.
Integrity: They are honest, trustworthy and straight-forward in all their dealings, and use time, money and resources wisely.
Diversity: They value others for their contribution, irrespective of personal differences, and provide equal access to opportunities and discourage any form of unfair discrimination.
Respect: They involve and listen to others, and show consideration and empathy for their emotional and physical well-being.
Excellence and quality: They always strive to provide services that meet or exceed the needs, standards and timescales of their internal and external stakeholders, and always strive for excellence and quality in all areas.
Reliability: They deliver what they commit to and keep their stakeholders informed of progress.
Social justice: They strive to create an organisation that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognises the dignity of every human being.
Cultural sensitivity: They advocate for palliative care to be delivered in a culturally sensitive manner by respecting the values and beliefs of others even when they differ from their own.
Team work: They strive to support one another, working co-operatively, respecting one another's views, and making their work environment positive and enjoyable as they work towards achieving their goal.