Palliative care is the care given to patients and families with severe health related suffering, many of them with life limiting illnesses. Unfortunately, most people around the world don’t have access to any palliative care, which means that they continue to suffer, sometimes in severe pain, not just when they are dying but for the many months (if not years) when they are trying to live with their illness. To add to this terrible burden, their illness can also precipitate or worsen poverty for the entire family because of health-care related costs and loss of earnings by either the patient or their carers.
During my work I noticed that, whilst improving quality of life, palliative care also supports cost savings at household level, helping to reduce poverty for already very poor households. This observation has become the focus of my PhD research, in which I will be asking people about the costs of health care before and following a diagnosis of cancer. We will record their use of health services (including palliative care) and assess their wellbeing over time. The results of this research will be able to provide evidence to support expansion of palliative care services for the many people who are in need, both here in Malawi and in other low and middle-income countries.
Funds raised through this campaign will go via Hospice Africa UK to the Palliative Care Support Trust in Blantyre, Malawi who are handling the funding for this research. The research is based at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. Data collection is taking place during 2019 and the research will be completed in 2021. The total cost of this phase of the research is £35,000. Funds raised through crowdfunding will be used for support of research participants (i.e. households affected by cancer £3,600) research costs (incl. data collection staff salaries, ethics £4000) and PhD student costs (fees, internet £2,400). Any extra funds raised will be used for dissemination of results.
Earlier publications from my research exploring household understanding of wellbeing and the contribution of palliative care following a diagnosis of advanced cancer are available.