A three day palliative care training saw pharmacists attend a morphine reconstitution session at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH).
This comes at a time when this group of health care workers has been identified as core towards realization of holistic care of patients with life threatening illnesses.
The team plays an important role within a hospital setup in ensuring patients receive the right drugs and dosage as prescribed by doctors.
Among barriers to pain management is the lack of knowledge on reconstitution of morphine powder into oral morphine for use by patients.
Leading the practical session was KNH Clinical Pharmacist Dr David Wata who informed the participants that accuracy in measuring the weight and volume was key to realizing an effective solution.
“It is good to reconstitute an amount equivalent to patient consumption over a given period to avoid expiry of this important drug,” said Dr Wata.
He said that it is important to account for the amount reconstituted, spillage and any excesses in their records.
During the demonstration, the pharmacists were shown the correct measurement tools/equipment and ratios to use during the reconstitution process as well as the correct labeling on the storage bottles.
This is the second training for pharmacists in Kenya for positive results in the ongoing integration of palliative care into the health system.
At the close of the training, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association Coordinator for Pain Relief Dr Esther Muinga asked the pharmacists to take an active role in championing for palliative care in their work stations.
“As a pharmacist, you need to take up your role, be involved and take charge in giving recommendation at the hospital committees,” she said.
She said told those who do not have a palliative care unit yet that there is a palliative care team identified at their facility and they should meet them and champion the course ahead.
“In case of any challenge, do get in touch with us and we will try our best to assist besides our concerted effort to visit you at your hospital,” said Dr Muinga.
She thanked Treat the Pain for sponsoring the training saying that it goes a long way in sealing the gaps identified in pain management.
According to a post test results issued by KEHPCA Programs Officer David Musyoki, over 80% of the participants registered a score of between 80% and 90% showing an improvement in understanding palliative care concepts.
The participants said that they have been enlightened on the role of a pharmacist in palliative care and they have gained confidence to dispense morphine and manage pediatric pain among other benefits from the training.
They said they needed more capacity building in palliative care to enable them provide comprehensive care and support to patients and families within their districts.
KEHPCA Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali asked the pharmacists to take part in pushing for change of policy in their hospitals to create an enabling ground for patients to receive the deserved pain medication and services.
There are plans to have a central processing unit for opioids for the country in future.