The Revd Dr Michael Wright

Books: Hospice Africa







Hensall Book






and Palliative Care

in Southeast Asia








Victor Zorza:

A Life Amid Loss



 and Palliative Care

in Africa


Transitions in End of Life Care in Eastern Europe and Central Asia


A Bit of Heaven for the Few



The continent of Africa covers 22 per cent of the earth’s surface and contains over 800 million people and some 50 countries. Conflict, poverty, endemic diseases and the lack of clean water pose serious challenges across the continent, made worse by the pandemic of HIV/ AIDS. Huge loss of life has impacted dramatically on both health systems and social and family structures.


This book represents a review of hospice and palliative care development across Africa, conducted by a team of researchers at the International Observatory of End of Life Care, Lancaster University, UK. Using an approach specially designed for resource-poor settings, the project gathered information against an agreed template to allow comparisons to be made between countries and regions. The resulting analysis gives an insight into the challenges, opportunities and successes faced by hospice and palliative care workers, country by country, throughout the 26 countries in Africa where a palliative care initiative is underway. The analysis is further complemented by ethnographic, demographic and epidemiological perspectives.




Michael Wright and David Clark (2006). Hospice and palliative care in Africa: A Review of Developments and Challenges.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 516 pp. (ISBN 0-19-920680-5)





This is the first comprehensive reference work focusing exclusively on palliative care and hospice development in Africa. It will make fascinating reading for palliative care activists, grant makers, service providers, researchers and others interested in health care innovations in Africa. It will also appeal to health care professionals interested in ethics, health care systems, and development within an international context, as well as policy makers and planners




Comments and reviews


‘I commend this book to anyone interested in the fight against AIDS and in the struggle to promote palliative care in Africa.’ Sir Elton John, Foreword. (The Elton John AIDS Foundation has donated more than $100 million to thousands of programmes designed to combat AIDS around the world). 


‘Wight and Clark’s inspiring book is a much-needed addition to the largely neglected area of palliative care research in Africa. It provides a thorough background, in current challenges and opportunities for key stakeholders, including service providers researchers, and donors, among many others. Faith Mwangi-Powell (2007) Palliative Care in Africa. The Lancet 369, January 13. (Faith Mwangi-Powell is the executive director of the African Palliative Care Association).


‘This book is a first … an  indispensible book for every palliative care library or resource centre with an interest in developing services in the world, for the donors who are assisting or about to assist in this great work, for public health specialists throughout the world, and the Ministries f Health in Africa. It is also a must for all students of palliative medicine, particularly at degree or diploma levels.’ Anne Merriman (2007) Palliative Medicine 21:451. (Anne Merriman is the founder of Hospice Africa Uganda).


‘The treasure of this volume is not found in the data, but in the interviews of more than 100 participants representing all aspects of hospice and palliative care provision; doctors, nurses, social workers, public health workers, educators, advocates and staff. These stories are consistent with the oral-narrative traditions of Africa and include inspiring recollections of the early and on-going struggles to care for the sick and dying, gain recognition for this care in the health system and government and defy the overwhelming devastation pf AIDS/ HIV. These personal accounts make for inspiring reading and can bring each reader’s own values and professional growth into focus, reaffirming one’s commitment to the field. Catherine P Supiano (2007) Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy 21 (4): 87-88. (Catherine Supiano is a member of the palliative care team, University of Utah Health Services Center, Salt Lake City, USA).


This is the definitive text for anybody wanting to know anything about hospice and palliative care in Africa. One can only pray that it will need to be updated frequently as the situation improves.’ Roger Woodruff (2006) International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care Newsroom, January 2007. (Roger Woodruff was director of palliative care at Austin Health, Melbourne from 1996-2007 and is a board member of the International Association of Hospice and Palliative Care


‘This is a timely look at the complex reality of hospice services in Africa. It employs a variety of methods to address the difficulty in gathering reliable data from a complex and poorly researched environment, and succeeds in delivering a comprehensive view of African hospice reality. It highlights the danger of imposing a western model of palliative care on a different and varied cultural context such as Africa. The need for developing culture sensitive inventions and service delivery systems are underscored.’ Gian Domenico Borasio ‘Article of the Month’ (Gian Domenica Borasio is based at the University of Munich and is a board member of IAHPC. Here, he is explaining why he chose our paper summarising the book (JPSM 2007 33(6): 690ff) —co-authored with Jenny Hunt and Tom Lynch— as his IAHPC article of the month in September 2007