World Child Cancer has partnered with the Cameroon Paediatric Oncology Group (CPOG) to train doctors, nurses, caregivers and volunteers on childhood pain management. CPOG held palliative care training sessions on August 13 and 14 in Yaoundé to share experiences and learn from experts on how to observe, diagnose, and manage pain in a way that will improve the lives of children receiving treatment in different oncology centres around the country.
Children can’t express themselves like adults, so observation is crucial when seeking out possible causes of stress. Caregivers also have to understand the physical and psychological anxiety everyone involved with patients deals with. Participants were encouraged to view pain as what patients describe and express, and discard any preconceptions they might have had. Understanding the psychosocial impact of pain on family and caregivers was treated as an extension of the healing process that varies through different cultures and communities.
CPOG President Prof Angele Pondy highlighted the importance of education and team work in their mission. “Through this workshop we’re trying to bring together everyone involved in paediatric palliative care. We’re also learning a lot about home visits from the CBC Health Services, and through feedback we’re starting to understand how our culture influences the way we build resilience.” She explained.
The facilitators recognized some of the challenges caregivers and volunteers face working in an environment with limited technology and facilities, but pointed out some non-pharmacological techniques that help relieve pain. Play, music, social interaction, comfort positions and psychotherapy all help to bridge the gap. Volunteering was encouraged to help tackle pain in childhood cancer patients, with the training serving as a tool for participants to provide meaningful social impact.
29 participants took part from the following organizations; World Child Cancer, Cameroon Paediatric Oncology Group, Alternative Santé, Médecins du Monde, Sanofi Espoir My Child Matters Initiative, National Committee for the Fight against Cancer, the CBC Health Services, and Clinton Health Access Initiative.