Doctors Worldwide

Paving the Road to Palliative Care in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, end of life care is a responsibility that is borne by community groups known as ‘Iddir.’ Originally, these groups were established to help cover funeral expenses and arrange burials, but their role has developed over the years to become one of caring for elderly and terminally ill members of Ethiopian communities. 

Most Iddir have no formal training in palliative and personal care, and more recently local organisations have been established to practice end of life care and look after members of the community who require attention.

Unfortunately, despite having a population of over 100 million people, Ethiopia only has one dedicated hospice. Doctors Worldwide was invited to Ethiopia to see how we could help further the government’s new Palliative care initiative.

The visit involved meetings with several key stakeholders through focus groups and meetings, including local Doctors, Nurses, Medical Directors, Ministry of Health representatives and administrative support staff, in which we discussed Doctors Worldwide’s role in rolling out palliative care through a community-based approach.

At Doctors worldwide, we believe that access to quality healthcare is not a privilege, but a human right. We are dedicated to improving the access of Ethiopian communities to dignified end of life care, and we look forward to beginning our work in Ethiopia.

Do you have experience in Palliative/Hospice care and would like to get involved? You can find out about our volunteer opportunities here.

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