Palliative Care Challenges in Nigeria: A qualitative study of interprofessional perceptions

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Doobay-Persaud A
Solchanyk D
Fleming O
Patel N
Drane D
Hause J
Ogbenna A.A
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Journal of pain and symptom management
Context Palliative care awareness, education and practice vary widely across global health systems, especially throughout low- and middle-income countries such as Nigeria. Unfortunately, qualitative investigations into the context, experiences and challenges of Nigerian health care professionals providing palliative care in these settings are still underrepresented in the literature. Objectives The aim of this study was to better understand the perceptions of palliative care providers in Nigeria. Methods The authors conducted an online survey of health professionals caring for patients with palliative care and end of life needs. Survey participants were recruited via convenience sampling from a palliative care training program in Lagos, Nigeria. Results 27 palliative care program participants (12 physicians, seven nurses, four pharmacists, two psychiatrists and two physiotherapists) responded to the two-question survey. 39 free text responses were collected and analyzed. A majority (33%, n = 13) of responses reported challenges associated with caring for patients with cancer. Suboptimal pain management was the second most common response type (18%, n = 7). Other significant responses included caring for patients with comorbidities (13%, n = 5), patients seeking spiritual care (8%, n = 3) and patients who were unable to afford standard treatment (5%, n = 2). Uncategorized responses (23%, n = 9) included experiences caring for patients with injuries sustained in military operations and COVID-19, among others. Conclusion These results provide valuable insights into the palliative care experiences and challenges of an interdisciplinary set of health care practitioners providing palliative care in Nigeria. Further research is needed to elucidate the facilitators and barriers of delivering palliative care in similar settings.
Scholarly article
Doobay-Persaud, A., Solchanyk, D., Fleming, O., Patel, N., Drane, D., Hauser, J. and Ogbenna, A. A. (2022). Palliative care challenges in Nigeria: A qualitative study of interprofessional perceptions. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 000, e1−e5.