In August 2002 hospice and palliative care professionals in Kenya came together to discuss ways of collaborating to develop service provision in Kenya. A steering committee was formed, with each of Kenya’s then seven existing hospices having two representatives present. The need for a national association representing hospices and palliative care in Kenya was clear, and following extensive advocacy work, in November 2005 the Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) was registered.
The first stake holders meeting to elect KEHPCA board members was held in March 2006, and was facilitated and sponsored by the African Palliative Care Association (APCA).
Dr Zipporah Ali was formally engaged as the National Coordinator and the first KEHPCA office established in 2007. Ever since, KEHPCA has advocated extensively for the integration of palliative care into health services in Kenya. KEHPCA’s intensive work over the past four years has seen the number of palliative care providers in Kenya grow from seven to fifty one, reaching an estimated total of 30,000 patients each year.
Today, the KEHPCA team comprises of eight staff, who continue to deliver KEHPCA’s core mission of providing palliative care training to health care professionals across Kenya, advocating for the inclusion of palliative care in the curriculum, working closely with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to advocate for the inclusion of palliative care in key government health strategies, and providing a range of programmes that address issues of accessibility, affordability and quality of palliative care services in Kenya.