The Kenya Ministry of Health won the Public Health Policy Award at the recently concluded African Palliative Care Association and Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (APCA – HPCA) conference in Johannesburg.
The award was set aside for an African Ministry of Health to recognize its public policy advocacy effort at the national, regional or international level to improve patient access to palliative care in Africa.
Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) Executive Director was awarded in the individual category for her zealous advocacy for palliative care in the country and beyond.
These awards compliment others that the association has received in recognition of its effort towards improving access of palliative care to all.
Previous awards include the Red Ribbon Award and recognition of KEHPCA as the Leading Palliative Care Organization by the International Palliative Care Leadership Development Initiative in the year 2012.
The awards were sponsored by the Open Society Foundation to recognize the cumulative contributions of an African Ministry of Health, an individual and an institution whose public policy advocacy efforts at the national, regional, or international level have improved patient access to palliative care in Africa.
During the conference the ministers of health present signed their support for;
- The development of policy frameworks that strengthen health systems, by the integration of palliative care into hospital and community home-based care health services in order to reduce the suffering of the African people with life-limiting illnesses such as HIV, cancer and other communicable and non-communicable diseases, who are living with pain and other burdensome symptoms.
- The integration of palliative care services into national health budgets to ensure sustainable services.
- The use of the already established global and regional frameworks provided by the African Union and WHO, to ensure availability of, and access to, essential medicines and technologies for the treatment of pain and other symptoms being experienced by so many in Africa, including children. This includes the procurement and distribution of morphine, to ensure greater availability and access of this main opioid for the management of moderate to severe pain.
- The integration of palliative care into the nursing, medical school and other relevant training curricula and pre-service training programmes such as those for pharmacists, social workers, psychologists and the clergy. In addition, support shall be provided to candidates who desire to take up a career in palliative care. In-service training and capacity building on palliative care for health care providers is also critical.
- The sharing of palliative care best practices in clinical care, effective models and education across the continent, to ensure peer-to- peer learning across borders. Such practices adopt holistic care approaches that focus on the physical, psychosocial and spiritual aspects of a person’s being, by use of multidisciplinary teams to reduce the suffering of patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. The provision of palliative care for particularly vulnerable groups such as neonates, children, adolescents, people with disabilities, and the elderly is essential.
- The development of partnerships across the continent between governments and other players in health, to ensure the sustainability of palliative care responses across the continent as well as promote quality improvement approaches at all levels.
ehospice salutes them for their continued palliative care advocacy in the country.