During the needs assessment phase in Asuncion, several key barriers to the achievement of effective, equitable cancer care were identified. These included the lack of integration of palliative care services into the cancer care continuum, the scarce availability of palliative care drugs, and the need to educate providers, users, family members and the community.
At the same time, the assessors noted a lack of content on the subject of cancer care in training programmes and the absence of competencies to provide supportive care and pain relief. Similarly, there is an absence of regulations and training programmes for specialists and limited development of other postgraduate programmes, including those dedicated to the preparation of multidisciplinary groups for the care of cancer patients.
To improve access to quality palliative care for cancer patients.
An interdisciplinary team was formed to develop the National Palliative Care Plan for Paraguay 2022-2030 and to implement a palliative care course for primary healthcare professionals, with the support of international experts from the Latin American Palliative Care Association (ALCP). Furthermore, Asuncion participated in the development of the Manual del Curso Basico de Cuidados Paliativos para Latinoamerica (Manual for Basic Instruction in Palliative Care for Latin America).
The project has received the support of Paraguay’s Ministry of Health, which has helped to develop the curriculum for virtual and in-person training.