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Living and Dying in society

Global Health

Palliative care in the world

The Department is highly committed to the global development of research capacity, activity and evidence in the quest to expand quality palliative care. We have many international links and a very active research programme in resource-poor countries. A large programme of work is being conducted in Sub-Saharan Africa, involving providers in six countries as well as advocacy bodies such as APCA (African Palliative Care Association), HPCA (Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa) NHPCO (National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization), SOROS and the Diana Fund.

Our African work  has also included the ENCOMPASS project in South Africa and Uganda, funded by the UK BIG Lottery, to validate an African Palliative Outcome Scale (with the APCA) and move into audit cycles.
Other projects have included:

  • a study of dying of HIV in Soweto
  • a census of palliative care needs in Tanzania
  • a study to measure pediatric antiretroviral therapy outcomes under specialist palliative care in South Africa
  • an evaluation of the pioneering Ugandan Public Health opioid roll-out.

Previous research in the department involved the development of guidance from the World Health Organization on palliative care, various collaborations with research teams from other European countries (e.g. Italy, Ireland) and the USA looking at place of death, and work with patients from ethnic minorities such as the Caribbean community in London.
Current international research includes:

  • a research project into breathlessness conducted both in the UK and Germany
  • a project in Portugal looking at the role of the media on public education about palliative care
  • an evaluation of pain measurement in Cambodia and Thailand

A needs assessment methodology is being developed to be used globally and a Churchill fellowship was granted to work with an Indian palliative care service to research the use of yoga and meditation at the end of life. The development of an evidence base, education for clinicians and a tool validation in Cuba and Argentina are also underway.
The work of the department is regularly presented at international conferences.  We frequently receive researchers from overseas, through visiting fellowships, and as speakers at our seminar programme. Our MSc in Palliative Care is strong in international perspectives and nearly a third who have successfully completed the MSc are from outside the United Kingdom. These countries include the USA, Germany, Holland, Italy, Switzerland, Taiwan, Japan, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Portugal and India to mention only a few.

Reports from our international projects, are in our Key Reports section.

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