“Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the struggles associated with life-threatening illness by holistically addressing their physical, psychosocial and spiritual needs.” WHO, 2002
Hospice Africa was founded in 1992 in Liverpool, UK, with a vision of bringing peace for the suffering in Africa, through affordable and culturally appropriate palliative care for those in need. A feasibility study was carried out early 1993, to decide on the country to place a model, which could be adaptable to different countries in culture and affordability. Uganda was chosen out of four countries who had asked for palliative care.
“Palliative care for all in need in Africa”
The Model, Hospice Africa Uganda
The model for Hospice Africa (HA), Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU), was born in September 1993 commencing with a service and education in parallel.
It uses the experience of Professor Merriman in general medicine, geriatrics and palliative care in Europe, Africa and South East Asia. It gets hugely its inspiration from the experience and spirit of Dame Cicely Saunders, the founder of the modern Hospice Movement.
The Model consists in both pain control with an affordable, accessible and efficient medicine that is oral morphine, and the provision of holistic care to the patients and their families. Without pain control in the place most suitable to the patient and family, holistic compassionate care cannot be given.
The three objectives of Hospice Africa Uganda
- To provide a palliative care service to patients and families in Uganda
- To carry out education programmes so that palliative care can be available to all in need in Uganda and in Africa
- To encourage palliative care for other African countries
The HAU Complex
The HAU complex was named in 2013. HAU had grown in size and complexity. It now includes
- The Clinical Service
- The Morphine Production Unit (MPU) producing morphine for the whole country as a public private partnership (PPP) with the Ministry of Health
- The Education Service, the Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa since 2009
- The International Programmes that takes forward the founding mission and works In initiating palliative care in other African countries since 2000
The HAU complex is a collaborative community that functions in many ways as a single unit but divides the goals of the organisation to ensure a needed specialisation of roles.
The HAU Complex also includes two other sites, one in South West Uganda, Mobile Hospice Mbarara which commenced in January 1998 and the second Little Hospice Hoima in North West Uganda which commenced in June 1998. See “the Three Hospices”. Aside the clinical services, education and clinical teaching take place for students attending the Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa and International Programmes, as well as post graduates for all continents, coming to learn how palliative care can work in Africa.