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First five African Pain Policy Fellows announced

12 May 2014

Five Fellows from Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, Sudan and Zambia are to receive training to become in-country champions to improve patient access to pain medicines.

The new African Pain Policy Fellowship (APPF) programme is being run by The Pain & Policy Studies Group (PPSG)/World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Pain Policy in Palliative Care in collaboration with the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) and is funded by a $200,000 grant from the National Cancer Center.

The APPF programme builds on the PPSG's well-established International Pain Policy Fellowship (IPPF) program which, since 2006, has trained and mentored 27 Fellows from 21 countries, including Kenya, Bangladesh, Ukraine and Colombia.

Fellows have been instrumental in effecting change in local and national laws and policies, clinician education, public awareness, advocacy and patient care and improving opioid availability.

Five individuals from Africa have been awarded a one-year fellowship to receive the training and skills as part of a pilot.

IPPF training, usually offered in the United States, will be provided locally for this programme, allowing training to draw on local knowledge about traditions, beliefs, cultures and political situations and how they might affect the availability of medications and palliative care. Training will occur through an initial in-person workshop in Africa and by utilizing distance learning.

Fellows will develop action plans to improve opioid availability that they will implement during the one-year period and will receive guidance and technical assistance from the PPSG, APCA, and other selected international experts.

For 2014, the five Fellows selected are:

  • Ethiopia – Abraham Endeshaw Mengistu, MPH, MD
  • Ghana – Mawuli Gyakobo, BSc, MB, ChB, MSc, PhD, FWACP-Fam. Med, Post Doc. Global Health & Palliative Medicine
  • Rwanda – Christian Ntizimira, MD
  • Sudan – Nahla Gafer, MD
  • Zambia – Lewis Banda, MBChB (UNZA), MMED (UNZA) (internal medicine), FCRADONC (SA) (fellow college of radiation oncology)
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