With the ageing of the population, the question of end-of-life care for each individual is becoming increasingly important.
Taking care of the sick and dying was once the duty of families and loved ones, a duty that was gradually transferred to medicine. Over the centuries, palliative care has become an established part of society as a third way between therapeutic obstinacy and euthanasia. The philosophy of this specific medicine is to alleviate the pain of the patient without acting on the cause of the disease. Since 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness”. Its objective is to help maintain the quality of life of the patients who receive it by relieving their suffering, whatever it may be.
Today, in France, palliative care continues to evolve, as does society’s and medicine’s relationship with death. Palliative care has several components: medical care provided by physicians, but also the support for loved ones and more global support to the ill person with other professionals (psychologists, volunteers, social workers, etc.). Support volunteers, like the Petits Frères des Pauvres teams, work to re-establish social ties in the final moments of isolated, fragile or dying people.
For several years, the Foundation and the French Organization of Petits Frères des Pauvres have been supporting an organization in Congo-Brazzaville: Association Congolaise Accompagner (ACA), which develops palliative care at home for the elderly at the end of their life: In this African country, the population and the government are facing the challenges of aging and its consequences, but there are still very few programs to care for the sick. The sick elderly are often considered as an economic burden for their families and their communities, and may be accused of witchcraft. Faced with these situations, the Congolese Association Accompagner provides comprehensive support for the sick: medical, psychological, social, and spiritual. The organization has also set up a health and palliative care center to welcome the sickest. The members of the organization also carry out preventive actions in the health centers of the city of Brazzaville in order to raise awareness on the importance for each person to be followed up regularly to prevent diseases.
Through its actions, the organization aims to develop palliative care in the country and become the reference organization in this field in Congo.
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