In January 2015, KEHPCA visited one of the palliative care providing sites with support from Treat the Pain program. This was Nanyuki town in Laikipia County where Laikipia Palliative Care Centre and Nanyuki Palliative Care unit (within the county hospital) are located.

Pain has been one of the challenging areas that clinicians face daily hence frequent management updates are appreciated. KEHPCA organized a Continuous Medical Education (CME) session for the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Nanyuki division. The CME on Pain management in palliative care was done by KEHPCA’s director of programs Dr. Kinyanjui.

Areas covered during the talk included pathophysiology of pain, assessment, use of opioids and adjuvants in pain management. Dr. Kinyanjui emphasized on the need to accurately assess a patient holistically and in turn prescribe medication using the WHO ladder for physical pain.

Some of the questions raised by the participants included the risk of addiction with morphine, use of marijuana and capsaicin in pain management, the role of a psychiatrist in patient care, management of pain in Intravenous drug addicts. They all agreed that the patients’ quality of life needs to be at the centre of their care.

One participant noted that neonatal pain is also undertreated and quoted a study done in Kenya and published in the British medical journal

“I have not been adequately assessing my patients but I am glad I attended this session,” said one of the doctors. The palliative care nurses who also attended the session urged participants to liaise with them when they get palliative care patients.

Since pain management is dynamic, more CME sessions on various aspects of pain were requested by the team.

By. Dr. Muinga