The aim of this Photovoice project was to explore patient and family perspectives of wellbeing and the contribution of palliative care following a diagnosis of advanced cancer in Blantyre, Malawi. Cancer and other life-limiting non-communicable diseases are on the increase in Africa affecting younger populations frequently diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease. Palliative care is an approach which aims to improve the quality of life for patients and families affected by life-limiting disease, though access to palliative care has been described as an issue which is largely ignored on the global health agenda.
Between November 2016 and February 2017, 13 co-researchers from 8 households gathered photographs to depict aspects of their daily lives. In this Photovoice project patients and their un-paid family caregivers described wellbeing as seeing improvements in the patients’ function facilitating inclusion in activities of daily living. Family caregivers, neighbours and community members play a key role as ‘courage givers’ supported by health workers and religious groups, though discrimination in the form of social exclusion was also reported.
Palliative care – beating pain
Photographer: GM patient aged 63
Palliative care - back to work
Photographer: JM patient aged 43
Photographer: EM carer, aged 33
The impact of the diagnosis on the family
Photographer: JM, patient aged 43
Photographer: PT patient aged 32