In order to strengthen the health systems in Kenya, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) has been advocating for the integration of palliative care services countrywide. As it stands, 25 out of 47 Counties in Kenya have access to these services. Believe me when I say, it is never over till it is over; as a result, KEHPCA works incredibly hard to ensure that these services are accessible in the remaining 22 counties. Therefore, with a clear intention of expanding to other counties, Director of Programs, Dr. Asaph Kinyanjui and Advocacy Officer, David Musyoki, travelled to Mwingi Level IV Hospital in Kitui County to support the initiative to have these services incorporated there.
At Mwingi Level IV Hospital, hopes are high that in a little while a functional palliative care unit will be put in place and patients will now have access to these services. They have identified a nurse who is currently pursuing a higher diploma course in palliative care at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) and will be deployed to the unit after completion of her course. The hospital has the main essentials needed to run the unit; which includes opioid medication like morphine. In addition, space allocation has been done where the nurse will coordinate services from.
Continuous Medical Education (CME) sessions have been really helpful in terms of sensitizing people about palliative care. It provides a platform to enlighten health practitioners what palliative care entails. Well, at this hospital this educative session has been conducted once and hence people working here will not be clueless when the services officially kick-off.
“We will support the integration of palliative care in Mwingi. However, there are challenges which include personnel and awareness creation targeting health care professionals and the public,” explained the nursing services manager at Mwingi Level IV, Peninah Kituku.
In order to deliver quality services to patients, the nurse requested KEHPCA to offer the hospital technical support especially in record keeping and data management. KEHPCA therefore pledged its continuous support to this hospital.