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The use of the Western palliative model in managing patients in resource-poor settings; the challenges and way forward for Ghana

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  • Full or part time
    Dr Y Salifu
    Prof N Preston
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Background: One key issue in palliative care in resource-poor countries is inadequate or lack of professional staff (Dungu, 2011) with the resultant burden of responsibility on family caregivers (Salifu, Almack, & Caswell, 2018). The usefulness of the westernised palliative care model in African and resource-poor context remains unclear. For example, do people use and how are issues of advanced care planning (ACP), breaking bad news are approached and does ACP lead to poorer outcomes, or better quality of end-of-life care as reported in the western countries (Brinkman-Stoppelenburg et al., 2014).

Aim: The study aims to determine whether the westernised model of Palliative care is applicable in Ghana and to identify what challenges exist in providing palliative care.
This project will be a two-stage study to:
Stage 1: Review of policy(ies) that inform palliative care in African countries.
Stage 2: Conduct an empirical qualitative study to explore the experiences of staff in employing the Western model of palliative care.

Method: This will be a qualitative study (Creswell & Poth, 2016) exploring health care professionals involved in palliative care in Ghana experiences, potentially at three sites. The study will examine the views of health care workers and possibly cancer support groups if feasible. Since there is no funding for travel, the research is facilitated through the support of the field supervisor, who will negotiate access and recruitment of eligible participants. The field supervisor will support local ethics applications.

Data Collection: All interviews will be conducted via skype and where relevant, via phones. Building upon pre-existing research links to palliative care staff in Ghana, we can facilitate the study progress as planned. Health care professionals and care/support group interviews will undergo thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2012).

Potential Impact: Findings could inform future palliative care guidelines for the management of patients with palliative care needs, which are context-specific and culturally appropriate (Young, 2005).

Funding Notes

Applications should be made directly to Dr Yakubu Salifu, [Email Address Removed] and should include:

CV (max 2 A4 sides), including details of two academic references
A cover letter outlining your qualifications and interest in the studentship (max 2 A4 sides)


Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis.

Brinkman-Stoppelenburg, A., Rietjens, J. A., & Van der Heide, A. (2014). The effects of advance care planning on end-of-life care: a systematic review. Palliative medicine, 28(8), 1000-1025.

Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2016). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.

Ddungu, H. (2011). Palliative care: what approaches are suitable in developing countries?. Britishjournal of haematology, 154(6), 728-735.

Salifu, Y., Almack, K., & Caswell, G. (2018). Exploring caregivers’ experiences of caring for men with advanced prostate cancer in a resource-poor setting: a qualitative serial interview study.

Young, J. (2005). Research, policy, and practice: why developing countries are different. Journal of International Development: The Journal of the Development Studies Association, 17(6), 727 734.

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