Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) in conjunction with Nairobi Hospice conducted a week-long introduction to palliative care training to over 20 community Health Care Workers (HCWs) with funding received from the Red Ribbon Award.

The community HCWs were drawn from Mombasa, Kakamega, Kisumu, Machakos, Nairobi, Nakuru, Embu, Thika and Meru in an effort to breach the gap between palliative care providers and those in need of the service at the rural areas.

Speaking when awarding the participants certificates, KEHPCA’s Education and Research Officer Dr Asaph Kinyanjui said that those trained should find it in their heart to use the knowledge gained to attend to the needy in the community.

“I hope you will continue working with hospices and palliative care units to bridge the gap in palliative care delivery through offering linkages between the providers and the patients at home.” Dr Kinyanjui said.

From Mombasa, Peninah Ndambi said that the training would help her deal with patients with life threatening illnesses and support them knowledge wise.

“I will be in a better position to teach other social workers who have not had much exposure or a chance to train in palliative care and encourage them to train when a chance comes up”. Peninah said.

Mrs. Pauline Njagi from Embu Provincial General Hospital said that the training has equipped her with knowledge to take care of patients with terminal illnesses in the ward.

“I have acquired skills in counseling that I would use to assist patients and family members solve problems associated with terminal illnesses and link them up with palliative care providers as per their needs.” She said.

From Meru Level 5 Hospital, Lucyline Nkatha said that besides linking up patients to palliative care providers, she has acquired the spirit of volunteerism.

“I have realized that it’s only God who will reward me for the job that I do and I will continue offering my services to those in need.” M/s. Nkatha said.

Rosemary Gibson from Thika Level 5 said she is now able to counsel patients with life threatening illnesses to accept the disease and stop living in denial.

Mariam Salim from the coast said she has understood the importance of communication to patients.

This is part of the training carried out by KEHPCA, Nairobi Hospice and other hospices across the county to spread the palliative care knowledge to as many people as possible who will in turn offer palliative care services to the patients with life threatening illnesses.

KEHPCA won the award in 2012 at a Special Session at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC, USA, in the treatment care and support category as a representative of all of the country’s palliative care service providers with the mission of scaling up palliative care services to bridge the very significant gap between those who receive services and those in need.

The Red Ribbon Award is presented every two years at the International AIDS Conference, designed to honor and celebrate organizations for their outstanding initiatives that show leadership in reducing the spread and impact of AIDS.