Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Palliative Care in Botswana

Progress and Challenges

Matula, Samuel T., MSN, RN, PCNS-BC

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: June 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p E7–E12
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000517
Global Exemplar Series

Palliative care is an essential aspect of care for patients with serious illness and their families, but a large proportion of the world’s population, particularly in developing countries like Botswana, do not have access to it. In Botswana and other developing countries, palliative care is often sporadic and lacks comprehensive delivery owing to a lag between policies and practice and a lack of knowledge about palliative care among health care professionals and communities. In this article, the progress of palliative care in Botswana is discussed by first evaluating at the relevance of palliative care in Botswana given the burden of diseases and resources available for disease management. Second, the palliative care delivery models and their successes and shortcomings in Botswana context are discussed. Third, the Botswana palliative care services are viewed on a global scale to illuminate progress and areas that need improvement. Thereafter, using a case as a reference, this article highlights the challenges faced by Botswana palliative care services. Finally, some areas that can be targeted to improve palliative care services in Botswana and possible solutions are discussed. Overall, palliative care is at infancy stage in Botswana and many opportunities exist in education, research, and resource support to transform it into a full-fledged service.

Samuel T. Matula, MSN, RN, PCNS-BC, is PhD candidate, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, and is Lecturer, University of Botswana, Gaborone.

Address correspondence to Samuel T. Matula, MSN, RN, PCNS-BC, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Claire M. Fagin Hall, 418 Curie Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.