Health Workers in French speaking countries in Africa have attained skills in palliative care services at a course offered by Hospice Africa Uganda, aimed at giving knowledge and skills to participants but also help them advocate for the development of palliative care in their countries.
Officials from Hospice learnt that 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 chronic diseases.
Participates were mainly nurses came from Togo, Chad, DR Congo and Burundi among others. Palliative care is a specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.
Dr Eddie Mwebesa the Hospice Africa Uganda CEO said Uganda like any other country in Africa has few trained palliative care nurses adding that so far they have trained 200 nurses with diplomas and degrees in palliative care and about 1000 with short courses.
Uganda was the first country to allow nurses prescribe morphine.
“We have been graded as having palliative care service which is integrated in the same level as it integrated in Europe and other developed countries,” he said.
One of the participants from Burundi, Dr Emile Norugavye, said they have attained skills in offering palliative care to patients adding that patients with chronic illnesses have been lacking such services.
“I am going to convince the Burundi government to ensure that they implement palliative care services. Hospice Africa – Uganda has also promised to support us,” Norugavye said.
A 2015 worldwide survey by Palliative Care Alliance ranked Uganda second to South Africa in the quality of care given to patients who are critically ill.
The survey indicated that only about 10% of patients who have terminal illnesses and require palliative care in Uganda, receive the services.
The majority 90% does not receive any care; they turn and writhe in their deathbeds, with no pain relievers and company to comfort them.
Uganda registers about 25,000 new cancer cases per year and about 90,000 TB cases annually.