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The use of and need for data and information by health professionals supporting the delivery of palliative cancer care services in sub-Saharan Africa: A qualitative study
Published: January 1, 2022
Purpose: The ability to develop and evaluate approaches to the management of advanced cancer in sub-Saharan Africa is limited by the lack of local, reliable and valid data to ensure that practice is evidence-based, replicable and reflects the needs of the population served. Methods: A secondary qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with 59 health professionals delivering palliative cancer care in Nigeria, Uganda and Zimbabwe were conducted to determine the use and needs for data and information for patient care and service delivery. Framework analysis was used, informed by a conceptual model for data use in low and middle-income countries. Results: Three meta-themes include: (1) Current practice in data gathering and use; (2) Gaps for capturing, storing information and supporting communication, and; (3) Needs and opportunities for data use. Deficits in current data access and use were identified, alongside targets for improving the quality, accessibility and utility of data to inform the development of palliative cancer care Conclusions: The availability and use of relevant and reliable data relating to the current provision of palliative cancer care are requisite for the contextually appropriate and effective development of health services. The requirements and constraints articulated by participants can guide future development and optimisation of digital health approaches for palliative cancer care in the participating countries, with relevance to the wider sub-Saharan Africa region