Saturday 10th October is the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. This is a special day that people come together to raise awareness of hospice and palliative care and to remember all people in need of these services. The event is hosted by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), and the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN). Kenya has not been left behind in celebrating this life-comforting event.
The theme of the event this year is: ‘Hidden Lives / Hidden Patients’ and it seeks to reach out to the people who need this service but for one reason or another, they are not able to. These are patients with life threatening diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes.
Children are often neglected and ‘hidden’, with over 20 million children worldwide needing a palliative care approach. UNICEF 2012 study indicated less than 1% of children in Kenya who required palliative care were able to access it. 42% of world has no delivery system for palliative care, and in 32%, services reached only a small percentage of the population. 80% of the world’s population lack adequate access to the medications needed for palliative care and to treat their pain. This is also a problem Kenya faces due to:
- Few oncology service providers-only one public hospital (KNH) proving radiotherapy services, over 1500 patients in their waiting list, with awaiting period of over 6 months.
- High cost of treatment- one radiotherapy session in a private hospital Ksh10,000-20,000
- Misdiagnosis, misconception
- Few trained personnel to provide the services.
There is a great disparity in terms of how many of these patients can access palliative care in Kenya because it is not a high-income country and therefore the resources for such services are limited. However, there is hope because with innovation and individual initiative as is the case with Uganda, awareness has been created throughout the country. Palliative care should be available for all with life threatening illnesses, and it should be provided regardless of age, race, disease, gender, sexuality, or place.
The aim of this event is to share the vision to increase the availability of hospice and palliative care throughout the country by creating opportunities to speak out about the issues, and to raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, social, practical, psychological and spiritual – of people living with incurable illness and their families.
About the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance
- The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) is an international non-governmental organisation focusing exclusively on hospice and palliative care development worldwide.
- We are a network of national and regional hospice and palliative care organisations and affiliate organisations.
- We believe that no-one with a life-limiting condition, such as cancer or HIV, should live and die with unnecessary pain and distress.
- Our vision is a world with universal access to hospice and palliative care.
- Our mission is to foster, promote and influence the delivery of affordable, quality palliative care.
- The WHPCA is registered in the UK where our secretariat staffs is currently based
About World Hospice and Palliative Care Day
- World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.
- World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place on the second Saturday of October every year and Voices for Hospices takes place on the same date every two years.
- World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is organised by a committee of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, a network of hospice and palliative care national and regional organisations that support the development of hospice and palliative care worldwide.