25 December 2012

Uganda: Palliative Care Allays End-o- Life Pain

Kampala — Palliative care providers have called for expansion of their services in all the districts of Uganda.

This was during the launch of the report on Documentation of Palliative Care Development in Uganda at the Kampala Serena Hotel.

Rose Kiwanuka the President of Pallliataive Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) said currently only 61 districts are covered by palliative care providers with others lagging behind despite having the need.

"Much as there is a life limiting illness, there is need to bring hope to those who are battling with such infirmity to cover up for the pain," Kiwanuka explained.

Kiwanuka a graduated nurse took on Palliative care on discovering a gap in the provision of comfort care in most hospitals despite the fact that medics are trained to look after sick people.

World Health Organization defines palliative care as an approach that improves the quality of a patient's life facing problems associated with life-threatening illnesses through early identification and treatment of physical, psychosocial and spiritual pain.

Launching the report, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Health, Asuman Lukwago urged stakeholders to take up palliative care as an avenue to address the gap for those who are neglected by own people.

"We can recover a significant percentage of people who are severely ill through such care but not necessarily to see them off," Lukwago explained.

With an increase in HIV (130,000 new infections annually) and cancer in Uganda, the need for palliative care is on the rise.

"The inadequate trained health professionals, lack of clear understanding and targets for palliative care and others slow palliative care service provision," she adds.

Binaifer Nowrojee, Director of Open Society Initiative (OSIEA) for East Africa said the poor maternal health systems of Uganda create a gap that can only be filled with palliative care.

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