SOURCE: Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa

January 29, 2008 16:16 ET

Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa Hosts Congressional Briefing on Palliative and End-of-Life Care and Global Battle Against HIV/AIDS

Recommendations Made as Congress Prepares to Reauthorize PEPFAR

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - January 29, 2008) - The Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa hosted a briefing on Capitol Hill today focusing on ways comprehensive and well-integrated palliative care services have contributed to and should be an ongoing part of the global fight against HIV/AIDS. Internationally recognized experts in palliative care gathered in the Rayburn House Office Building and stressed that quality palliative and end-of-life care should be a stronger component of essential care and treatment efforts, particularly in Africa.

Every day, 6,500 people die from HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa -- many without basic supplies that would bring much comfort. With the goal of reducing suffering, palliative care provides client-centered holistic care that address needs relating to pain control, symptom management, and social, emotional and spiritual support. Care is provided through trained interdisciplinary teams.

As Congress prepares to reauthorize PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the presenters shared accomplishments and offered important recommendations for continued progress in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

"It's important to acknowledge the positive impact that PEPFAR has made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa and the promotion of palliative care services. Palliative care is now spoken in the same breath as HIV/AIDS management and that is a significant achievement," remarked Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell of the African Palliative Care Association. "We are honored with this opportunity to recognize what PEPFAR has accomplished as we point out recommendations to ensure that this beneficial work endures."

In addition to Mwangi-Powell, FHSSA brought together an accomplished panel: Dr. Liz Gwyther, Hospice and Palliative Care Association of South Africa; Dr. Ya Diul Multadi, Family Health International; Dr. Richard Payne, Duke University/FHSSA; and Donald Schumacher, president of FHSSA.

In supporting the reauthorization of PEPFAR legislation, presenters voiced the importance of including dedicated funding to build and sustain comprehensive palliative care services in PEPFAR focus countries and the need to include recommendations of global health experts.

"The delivery of palliative care in conjunction with what is commonly called 'curative/disease modifying treatment' is mutually beneficial to persons coping with HIV/AIDS related illnesses," remarked Schumacher.

FHSSA ( is committed to expanding the development of quality hospice and palliative care programs throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Phil Di Sorbo
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