“During this training, we would like to know how to manage pain, the use & reconstitution of morphine as well as the options available for pharmacists from Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) and the Ministry of Health (MoH) for us to manage patients with life limiting illnesses well.”

This is the summary of expectations from pharmacists attending a palliative care training that commenced Monday 30th June to Wednesday 2nd July 2014 in Nairobi.

Most of the pharmacists are from County Hospitals that have or are in the process of integrating palliative care as per the directive from the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Some of the pharmacists have indicated that prescription in general is limited to drug availability within their facility.

They said that as much as this limitation exists, they have a role to play and a need to increase consultation between pharmacists and other health care workers for easier coordination.

With the devolution system currently in place, pharmacist have expressed concern that purchase of palliative care drugs would be determined by the manner in which the county pharmacist airs hospital concerns regarding order and purchase of essential drugs.

KEHPCA Executive Director, Dr.  Zipporah Ali told the pharmacists that they have a big role to play towards ensuring availability of essential drugs in their hospitals.

“You should not only be dispensing these drugs but there is a lot more that you can do towards supporting patients faced by life threatening illnesses by being  part of the multi disciplinary team.”

She said that palliative care was an isolated service but it has since been appreciated with the MoH supporting its integration into health systems.

This is the second team of pharmacist being trained in palliative care in an effort towards achieving a holistic approach for teams within a hospital set up in attending to patients with life threatening illnesses.