Although the health system in Tunisia is increasingly promoting screening and seeking to raise awareness, many diseases, particularly cancers, are not diagnosed until they are so advanced they can no longer be cured. This happens in over a quarter of patient cases. Many cancer patients and families have to travel long distances for consultation and treatment in Tunis, Sousse or Sfax, at great financial cost. Patients are very often marginalized through poverty, the financial strain of job loss and paying for ongoing medication or dressings. Separation from family support can be frightening, as is the taboo nature of a life-threatening illness. Pain and suffering are frequently experienced by many. Some patients are rejected by their families as they feel unable to cope with distressing symptoms and unpleasant wounds. It is into this situation that ACT is seeking the development of a Palliative Care and Supportive network. Our project developed in response to this reality and a palliative care support and education centre has been opened opposite the local hospital and regional cancer centre in Gabès. Patients and families are visited in the hospital and followed up by telephone support at home. Group sessions are held on topics such as nutrition or how to look after a seriously ill person at home have been started. Home visits are made to support the seriously sick at home in collaboration with local nurses. This is a 4-year pilot project and if successful it is hoped it will develop to include non-cancer patients and be expanded to other regions.  There are now additional centres treating cancer in Tunis, Sousse and Sfax. The education arm of this project aims to demonstrate the practical ways in which patients and their families can still be supported to have the best possible quality of life for the rest of their diagnosis.


For this project, the work ACT is undertaking is mostly based around Tunis, especially the national cancer hospital Salah Azaiez. We have links with work being done in Gabès with the support group there. We are also currently looking at what is already happening across the country and how we can support current initiatives and link up interested parties.


  • Education on palliative care to doctors, nurses and other medical professionals.
  • Developing multi-disciplinary team working.
  • Training for doctors, health professionals and non-medical volunteers at a regional level.
  • Raising awareness in the community.
  • Support of hospital information visits and home follow ups through our partner centre in Gabès.
Projets liés
  • Draft 3
    Draft 3
    Renforcement des capacités 2019-2021