Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that patients are able to access health care services including palliative care regardless of their financial status. UHC in Kenya has been extensively pursued by the Ministry of Health and County Governments through subsidizing the costs of medical services so as to ensure patients who are living from hand to mouth have access to health care services that they need.

On 14th October 2017, the world marked the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCDay17). The event themed Universal Health Coverage and palliative care – Don’t leave those who are suffering behind, saw hospices and palliative care in more than 45 countries mark the day in style.

In Kenya, National Palliative care week ran from 9th October and culminated on the 14th October where our 10 palliative care sites conducted different activities supported by Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA). The activities ranged from awareness walks to daycare and community talks so as to sensitize citizens on palliative care services. On the other hand, the week was also filled with several media interviews in radio stations and Television channels. The site palliative care units targeted community media so as to reach a larger audience and create awareness on the importance of integrating palliative care services.

  • KEHPCA did several media interviews on the integration of palliative care in different Television channels such as KTN and KU TV.
  • Nairobi Hospice conducted a media highlight on patients’ palliative care journey at the hospice which was highlighted in the Health Digest program, KTN News channel.
  • Busia Hospice held community talks at Ikanjala village, Butula Sub County where they addressed approximately 200 people in cancer and palliative care.
  • Ol- Kalou conducted a prostate cancer screening session.
  • Nyeri Hospice organized a community talk.
  • Kitale District Hospital Palliative Care Unit did a routine home-based care to their patients.
  • Nakuru Hospice organized for a cancer screening session that ran for three days and also visited home for the elderly.
  • Kitui Palliative Care unit did a breast cancer awareness walk.
  • Meru Hospice did Cancer awareness and charity walk
  • Ongata Ngong Palliative Care Community visited a Remand Prison based at Industrial area.
  • Laikipia Hospice did a special daycare to pamper the patients and their families.
  • Homa Bay Palliative Care Unit did home visits around the area.

In addition, this year, an incredible documentary called ‘Hippocratic’ a story of Dr. Rajogopal, who is an advocate of palliative care services in India, was also part of the WHPCDay. KEHPCA organized a film session on the same at the Kenya Medical Training College  (KMTC) on 13th October where 70 Medical and Nursing students attended.

After the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2017, we are positive that Universal Health Coverage and palliative care will be greatly embraced in Kenya as we continue to support those who are suffering.

Remember: Palliative care is everyone’s business.