Ugandan activists seek gov’t funding for palliative care

Ugandan activists

Summary:

  • Palliative care givers have urged government to put up a fund dedicated to home care, which is needed by any Ugandans, who are not receiving medical care in health facilities.

Palliative care providers are urging the government to establish a dedicated fund for home care, a crucial service needed by many Ugandans who are unable to access medical treatment in health facilities.

Numerous Ugandans suffering from life-limiting illnesses find themselves confined to their homes with little hope for recovery. These patients rely on home care remedies to manage pain and receive psychosocial support. While families often provide some level of care, specialized healthcare professionals trained in palliative care, organized under the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU), also offer essential assistance.

During the “Road to Hope” camp, which offers practical experiences and interactions for young people in palliative care, Mark Donald Mwesiga, the PCAU executive director, recognized Uganda’s progress in the field of palliative care. However, he emphasized the need for more support, particularly in expanding palliative care services.

Mwesiga stressed the importance of integrating palliative care into the country’s public health system. He advocated for the deliberate recruitment of palliative care professionals in government health facilities to ensure comprehensive support for patients with life-limiting illnesses, addressing their spiritual, psychological, and psychosocial needs alongside physical care.

He also highlighted the necessity of making medications, particularly pain relievers like oral morphine, readily available even at the lowest health facilities, to alleviate the financial burden on patients seeking such treatments.

Regarding the “Road to Hope” initiative, Mwesiga explained that it involves younger individuals engaged in palliative care, many of whom serve as primary caregivers for their parents suffering from life-limiting illnesses. The organization also includes students participating in palliative care programs.

Mwesiga noted that children from vulnerable families are supported and educated, aiming to equip them with skills for self-sustainability and to assist their families. The “Road to Hope” camp provides counseling, encouragement, and training for these individuals, fostering a compassionate community ethos among them.

Rose Kiwanuka, Uganda’s first palliative care nurse, emphasized that palliative care is rooted in love, a principle highlighted in the camp. She expressed optimism about the future of palliative care, seeing the active participation of younger generations as a sign of its enduring importance and growth.

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