The Thika Palliative Care Team (Thika Level 5 Hospital) initiated palliative care training in Gatundu Level 4 Hospital with support from KEPHCA. Building on this year’s world hospice and palliative care day ‘hidden lives hidden patients’ the organizations planned to reach out to the remote areas of Gatundu where many people need palliative care services. The training comprised of health workers i.e. Nurses, Nutritionists, Clinicians, Anesthetist and an administrator. It was the first time the health workers were informed on palliative care and what it entails.

There are many people who are ailing from life threatening illnesses in the region and the training of the health practitioners will not only help them take care of the patients. “Many people go through a lot of pain but do not know how to handle the situation,” said one of the participants.

Pain is subjective and what health care practitioners are to abide by, is the definition that pain is whatever the patient says hurts. Some health care workers may underrate a patient’s pain intensity and therefore under treat it; this affects the patient quality of life and that of care givers. Pain is the commonest symptom that many patients present with and therefore there is need to educate health care providers on how to assess and manage pain effectively.
said Dr. Kinyanjui, the KEHPCA’s Director of Programs.

Another area that was covered during the training was human rights and ethical issues in palliative care. Participants were taken through the various sections of the constitution that address the rights of citizens including children, estate management, will writing and ethical principles.  There are also a lot of legal issues in Gatundu in accordance to land and inheritance and as ever the female gender again felt dissatisfied with the laws of the land. Many of the female gender in the room were really curious and some vouched to forever keep receipts of ever purchase they make as one of the participant simulated how she had gotten off the hook due to the receipts when her husband had tried to get rid of her and marry another wife. Many legal issues are on the rise and palliative care givers should be able to have the knowhow of how to handle that.

During the workshop there was also the process of relaying the information via the internet. There was a huge argument that ensued between confidentiality and disclosure of information concerning diseases and what should be told to whom and at what time. A few were of the notion that a patient status should be personal and that no information should be given to anyone even the spouse. This is against the law that says if a person knowingly infects another person they should be convicted under the constitution in accordance to section 24 part 2 of the HIV and Aids prevention and controls act.

The health workers were given a pre-test before the training and scores ranged from2%-75%. Following the training, a post test (same questions) was administered. The scores registered a drastic improvement with scores ranging between 64%-94%. This shows that the workers had learnt a major deal in palliative care and ready for its introduction and integration in Gatundu.