Lecturers and tutors from training institutions converged in Nairobi for a four day workshop on teaching methodologies in palliative care through the collaboration of African Palliative Care Association (APCA) and Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) with support from Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Palliative care consultant from APCA, Irene Kambonesa said that the training aimed at equipping the tutors with knowledge on how to impart knowledge to health care trainees at various training institutions.

“I believe you have learnt a lot from us. Take the good things you have learnt from us for the last four days and pass it on to others,” said Kambonesa.

KEHPCA Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali said that palliative care is being integrated into public hospitals hence the need for more trained health care workers to take up the task of providing palliative care to patients with life threatening diseases calls for such a workshop.

“I hope this training has improved your interest in palliative care so that once you go back to your stations, you will be able to pass on this noble skills.” Dr Ali said.

Judy Johnson, an oncologist from the USA consulting for Daystar University said she was pleased with the progress of palliative care in Kenya.

“Having nurses understand palliative care is so important,” said Johnson. She added that they are trying to create a program for health care workers to care for patients at home by instilling confident in them as most patients do not want their families to have full knowledge of their illnesses.

As for the trainees, Gilbert Sigei from Tenwek Hospital said that the course has simplified palliative care concepts and made it an interesting field to work in. “The forum was lively and we felt part of the training team,” he added.

Gladys Owira, a nursing lecturer from the Great Lakes University, Nairobi Campus said that in class, some of her palliative care students are positive about the course while others are negative.

“I think it is because they have not had a practical encounter with patients who need palliative care. I commit myself to propose placement of our students in a hospice setup to my colleague so that they practice what they have learnt.”

She said she thought she understood all training methodologies but the workshop has enlightened her of two more areas; scalping and problem based methodologies.

“We in the medical field need this knowledge because we are in touch with these patients, directly or indirectly. I feel many people are lacking knowledge about palliative care,” said M/s. Owira.

Dennis Nyambane from Kenya Red Cross is a trainer in palliative care. He said that Red Cross is running a hospital in Dadaab Camp and there is a need to take care of terminally ill patients.

“This course has come in handy and I am planning to do some Continuous Medical Education sessions on palliative care for the health staff and health assistants at the hospital.” Mr. Nyambane said.

KEHPCA Education and Research Officer Dr Asaph Kinyanjui said that the workshop presented a platform of equipping lecturers and tutors with appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude for them to effectively train palliative care.

Topics covered during the workshop include problem based learning, clinical placements/tools, role play, cooperative learning, care based learning and case conferences among others.