Community Health Workers' Palliative Care Learning Needs and Training: Results from a Partnership between a US University and a Rural Community Organization in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa

J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2016;27(2):440-9. doi: 10.1353/hpu.2016.0078.


The lack of palliative care knowledge among health care providers is a major barrier to adequate care in the rural provinces of South Africa (SA). Three aims: (1) to identify palliative care learning needs of community health workers (CHWs) working in a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Mpumalanga province SA, (2) to develop a training session based on the needs identified by the CHWs, and (3) to describe CHWs' perceptions of the usefulness of the training content. Data were collected from 29 CHWs in focus group interviews. Content analysis identified eight palliative care learning needs: HIV/AIDS, palliative care, TB, sexually-transmitted illnesses, debriefing, care of bedridden patients, other chronic diseases. Based on three of the most salient learning needs, a training session was planned and delivered. Future program development should consider interventions to provide emotional support for CHWs and how to evaluate the quality and impact of care provided on the community.

MeSH terms

  • Community Health Workers*
  • Humans
  • Palliative Care*
  • Rural Population*
  • South Africa
  • Universities