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In August 2017, Hospice Africa Uganda started programs to integrate Palliative Care into the refugee settings based on a report from a multi stakeholder consultations conducted in the refugee hosting districts that revealed a high need for Palliative Care among refugees due to life limiting illnesses including cancer, chronic hepatitis B, diabetes, heart diseases and Tuberculosis among others.

With support from the Open Society Initiatives for East Africa (OSIE) through the African Palliative Care Association (APCA), we were able to train 54 health workers from 5 major refugee settlements in Uganda including Bidibidi, Kyangwali, Kiyrandongo, Oruchinga and Nakivale. These health workers were selected from both government health facilities and that of UNHCR health Implementing Partners such as Medical Teams International (MTI), International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Real Medical Foundation (RMF). The training has greatly improved the quality of care for patients with chronic illnesses within the settlements and surrounding areas. HAU has also worked with these partners and the DHO’s offices in the different districts to improve on the morphine supply chain as well as the referral system of the patients.

We are currently working with Isingiro District where we are implementing a one year project of integrating Palliative Care into the humanitarian health interventions in the district with support from the Julia Taft Refugee Fund under the US Department for State. This project will see the establishment of 3 palliative Care units in government health facilities serving refugees (and host communities) namely; Nakivale Health Center III, Rwekubo Health Center IV and Nshongyezi Health Center III.

We have so far provided trainings to 25 Community Health Workers (CVWs), 12 traditional healers and 12 religious healers who will help with identification and follow up of patients from within the communities. We are also in the process of identification and facilitation of specialized training to 3 health workers in Palliative Care who will be the main providers of PC services at the units.

HAU has been conducting monthly outreaches to Isingiro to serve patients from both the local population and refugees from Nakivale and Oruchinga which has a huge population of over 134,000 people from different countries including DRC, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia among others. Despite this outreach, several patients still have to be transported to our site in Mbarara, over 60 kilometers away but with the establishments of the 3 palliative care units, services will be made more available.

During a recent visit to Nakivale by our project team, one of the patients, a 48 year old Murekatete Domitile in Kashojwa “C” at the Base Camp, was delighted to learn that she will soon not have to travel the long journey to Mbarara for her medication and review for Palliative Care but simply walk for less than a kilometer to Nakivale Health Center III to get the care she needs. Domitile was enrolled in the HAU care program in October 2017 from Mbarara Regional Referral Hospital after a mastectomy (right breast removed) to treat breast cancer.

She has since then been returning to Mbarara for review and to get medication but once this unit is established, Domitile and other patients in the area will get all services without having to travel the long distance.

We thank all our donors and partners who have supported this initiative that is greatly improving access to palliative care for refugees as well as host communities across Uganda.

2018 is the silver Jubilee of Hospice Africa Uganda and introduction of palliative care to Uganda.

This is Our Journey…

  1. HAU has brought Uganda into International arena:
    1. Uganda is the country with most integrated palliative care in Africa on a par with UK, US and Australia. (WHO and WHPCA Atlas of Palliative Care 2014)
    2. Uganda is seen as the second best place to die in Africa today. (Economist survey 2015)
  2. Spread palliative care to 93 of the 112 Districts in Uganda today through the nurses, trained with a specialist Diploma at IHPCA.
  3. Since 2010, offers degrees in conjunction with Makerere University in Palliative care to Ugandans and all in Africa.
  4. In 2008: Commenced Makerere Palliative Care Unit in the department of Medicine (MPU)
  5. Introduced palliative medicine into the undergraduate curriculum at Makerere (1994) and MUST (1998).
  6. In 2011: Public Private Partnership with MOH and HAU was made for HAU to start manufacturing oral morphine for all of Uganda at our site in Makindye.
  7. Since 2004, has provided free oral morphine to all prescribed by a recognised prescriber and is the first country to do so.
  8. In 2003, directed the steering committee and founded the African Palliative Care Association (APCA).
  9. 2002: Statute change so that nurses and CO’s trained in palliative care (at HAU with a Diploma (DPCC)) can prescribe morphine.
  10. In 2000, International Programme Department commenced to support other African countries with advocacy and training.
  11. In 1999, Founded the Palliative care Association of Uganda (PCAU)
  12. In 1993, Hospice Africa chose Uganda as the country to model palliative care for all of Africa and Hospice Africa Uganda was founded.
  13. Has proven achievements through working with Government and Ministry of Health:
    • First country in Africa to increase prescribers from doctors only to task shifting to specially trained Nurses. This was due to the addition of this to the statute allowing midwives to prescribe pethidine for women in labour. This went through Parliament in 2003.
  14. Founder, Dr Anne Merriman, has received international recognition for the relief of suffering in Uganda and Africa, through the following awards:
    • Nominated for Nobel Peace prize 2014
    • IAHPC award
    • Honorary awards and degrees from Universities in UK and Ireland since 2001
    • Honorary Professor of Palliative Medicine, Makerere University
    • Lifetime achievement award APCA 2014
    • Achievement award AORTIC 2015 African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer)
    • Medical Alumni of the year UCD 2016
  15. In 25 years, HAU has cared for 31,000+ patients in Uganda, mainly in their own homes, where they wish to be at this special time of life, with their families and close to their ancestors.

                                       *25 years of spreading hope in Uganda, help us spread it for 25 more*

Thousands of seriously ill people will suffer unless a new machine is commissioned “as a matter of urgency”

The Minister of Health Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye today (Friday May 20th2016) pledged to support the scaling up of palliative care training in Uganda in order to meet the need of the country’s seriously ill and dying people and their families.

Do you work with people with HIV/AIDS and cancer? Are you interested in learning about Palliative Care? Do you need skills to integrate palliative care into your work? If so, we have a solution for you. Apply to enroll for one of the following courses

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