Project ECHO: Introductory Palliative Care for Humanitarian Health Workers
by Erin Das, Zobaida Rahman and Dr. Tawhid Mahmood
Over the last 12 months, more than 200 healthcare workers in the Rohingya refugee response have been involved in a virtual training program on palliative care, called Project ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes). Project ECHO is an online education and mentorship program which has been providing palliative care training for healthcare providers in Bangladesh with support from PallCHASE, Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration and Fasiuddin Khan Research Foundation.
The 11-week course has run three times since September 2020. Studying and learning in this COVID season has been a challenge for many health care workers around the world, but with the increased uptake of virtual modalities, like ZOOM, people are becoming more accustomed to this type of learning.
After completion of the course, participants are encouraged to attend monthly mentoring sessions where they can connect with local and international palliative care experts to discuss challenging patients and learn more.
Several recent course participants shared their views on what they have learned; with one participant noted, “I think the session of family counselling which was part of communication was the most memorable. I found it most difficult, but I want to put it into practice, what I have learned day by day. I shall be better in this communication next time.” Other participants noted that although breaking bad news is very difficult, they were motivated to put this new skills in this area into practice in their workplace.
Wound care of fungating wounds in advance cancer also came up as an area of Palliative Care that some of the participants wanted to learn more about and lead to very memorable patient interactions. The participant commented, “During the ECHO Course, the most memorable patient case [that was discussed] was a male patient, aged 37 years diagnosed with CA rectum with past chemo, radiation stat and recurrent abdominal wall metastases. He had a large fungating wound on his whole abdomen. Before this, I never found this type of wound. It was totally a new case for me. I helped him with the wound dressing. This dressing took a long time, so I think it is the most memorable patient case for me.”
Through live, real-time teaching of health care workers in the humanitarian setting, PallCHASE partners with those working to individuals and their families experiencing serious health-related suffering in very difficult situations.
Sphere Online Training Course
Sphere’s newly released e-learning course “Sphere in Practice” supports students, humanitarian professionals and anyone who wishes to learn about humanitarian standards in an interactive and engaging way.
On top of being entirely free of charge and soon available in multiple languages, “Sphere in Practice” is designed to adapt to your time availability and needs. You can study at your own pace, completing all lessons in 8-10 hours in total.