Human resources development is a key priority across all City Cancer Challenge (C/Can) projects. Many cities have lacked adequate numbers of trained cancer care specialists, and this problem has hindered the provision of quality, equitable cancer care.
To extend the benefits of City Cancer Challenge’s (C/Can) partnership with the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Kerala, India, a WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Participation in Palliative Care and Long-term Care, to provide support for technical cooperation and capacity-building efforts in C/Can cities.
In 2021, the Institute of Palliative Medicine organised the Fellowship in Palliative Care 2021, a distance education programme with contact sessions based on principles of adult learning, and invited C/Can cities to join.
C/Can opened this opportunity to three cities: Yangon (Myanmar), Kumasi (Ghana) and Kigali (Rwanda). In each of these cities, palliative care had been prioritised as a city project by the City Executive Committee, and a dedicated project team had been established to lead the execution of the palliative care project.
The course was delivered as distance education for 140 hours (60 hours for virtual classroom and 80 hours for self-learning) from February to July 2021, with contact sessions, mentorship, assignments and evaluations. The participants were evaluated through a written examination and completion of assignments.
Eight of the 11 applicants successfully completed the fellowship programme (three participants from Yangon could not participate in the second half because of internet connectivity issues, however the Institute of Palliative Medicine will provide the opportunity to participate in the next intake without additional payments).
Training delivered to 11 successful applicants (of 13 total candidates) from Yangon, Kumasi and Kigali.
Working with City Cancer Challenge in Kumasi and Kigali gave us an opportunity to partner with the teams towards realising palliative care ideals. The visit by the team from Kumasi was another highlight that inspired the team to create better cancer care plans and achievements. It is a truly beautiful palliative care journey.