Uganda starts training African nurses in palliative care

One of the participants being handed a certificate.

Nurses from different Franco phone African countries have finished their three weeks course in palliative course at Hospice Africa Uganda(HAU) to provide care for people with severe illnesses.

Dr Eddie Mwebesa, the chief executive officer of Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) said the nursing participants are from different countries including Togo, Chad, DR Congo and Burundi, among others and that the initiative is not only aimed at imparting skills to participants but also inspire them to advocate for palliative care in their counties.
“African countries are faced with many problems like lack of medication for palliative care and few trained personnel to offer the service, yet there are millions of people suffering from different chronic diseases,” Dr Mwebese said at the pass-out ceremony.

Mr Emile Norugavye, one of the participants from Burundi said their countries have been lacking palliative care services and they hope to use the knowledge and skills attained during the training to help improve the quality of life of patients back home.

“Hospice has promised to support us convince our governments to ensure that they introduce palliative care services,” Mr Norugavye said.
So far, HAU HAS trained 200 nurses with diplomas and degrees in palliative care and about 1000 with short courses. Uganda was also the first country to allow nurses prescribe morphine, a narcotic pain reliever usually given to cancer patients.

Uganda is second to South Africa in providing care to patients who are critically ill, according to a 2015 worldwide survey by Palliative Care Alliance. However, only 10 per cent of the Ugandan patients who require palliative care receive the services.
Palliative care in Uganda was introduced by Prof Anne Merriman also, the founder of Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) in 1993.

Also referred to as pain relief, palliative care is a mode of treatment where patients with incurable diseases like cancer and HIV/Aids die without feeling severe pain.


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