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CANCER TRAINING AND EDUCATION

CANCER CONTROL 2015 73

I

n early 2013, ecancer was commissioned by the

Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT) to

develop an e-learning course in palliative care for healthcare

professionals in Africa. As a not-for-profit oncology

channel that is committed to improving cancer

communication and education with the goal of optimising

patient care and outcomes, ecancer had always published

information and education on palliative care when possible,

but it had not been a main focus of our activity

(www.ecancer.org). Over the next couple of years as we

discovered more and more about palliative care education

this changed and ecancer is now actively engaged in

becoming one of the leading global resources for online

palliative care education.

Education in palliative care is a hugely important issue as

sparing terminally ill patients unnecessary pain and allowing

them to die with dignity is seen as critical by the UN

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1) as

well as being identified as a fundamental human right by a

number of other leading organizations.

According to WHO Global Health Estimate, in 2011 20.4

million people were in need of palliative care at the end of

their lives, with 9% of those in Africa, and the Global Atlas of

Palliative Care at the End of Life recognizes that "the need for

palliative care has never been greater and is increasing at a

rapid pace due to the world's ageing population and increases

in cancer and other noncommunicable diseases" (2) so the

global need is on the rise. Palliative care is also an extremely

important issue in the field of oncology as cancer accounts for

34% of the adult palliative care needs in the world (3).

DEVELOPING A LIBRARY OF

EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES FOR THE

PALLIATIVE CARE COMMUNITY

DANNY BURKE, HEAD OF EDUCATION (LEFT),ecancer.org; FIONA RAWLINSON

(CENTRE), CONSULTANT IN PALLIATIVE MEDICINE AND COURSE DIRECTOR, THE PALLIATIVE

CARE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, CARDIFF UNIVERSITY, UK; GORDON MCVIE (RIGHT), SENIOR

CONSULTANT, EUROPEAN INSTITUTE OF ONCOLOGY, MILAN, ITALY AND FOUNDING

EDITOR, ecancer.org

Provision of effective palliative care is a globally important issue. This article describes the

journey of ecancer, specialist providers of oncology education, from developing an e-learning

course in palliative care to recognizing the importance of palliative care education on a longterm

basis and striving to create a comprehensive library of resources.

Initially, ecancer, through their Founder and Chair Professor Gordon McVie, worked in

partnership with the Cardiff University palliative care team led by Dr Fiona Rawlinson and with

The African Palliative Care Association, through their Executive Director Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, to

develop a 20 module course in palliative care. This article describes the processes the

collaboration undertook to develop the content, the format of the modules as well as feedback

from learners. These resources are available for free for African health-care professionals

through ecancer's open-access educational platform (www.ecancer.org). This article also

describes other initiatives in palliative care education, which include video interviews with leading

figures, the publication of a special issue dedicated to palliative care and future plans to develop

a new e-learning course in partnership with the Indian Association of Palliative Care for healthcare

professionals in their country.

Supporting the global palliative care community is extremely important through education and

awareness to help recognize its importance within health care. There are many organizations

and individuals working on this vital issue and ecancer hopes to be able to leverage its resources

to contribute in any way possible.

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