In the effort of strengthening palliative care in Kenya, Tropical Health & Education Trust (THET) is supporting palliative care experts from University of Edinburgh and other institutions to offer mentorship to palliative care providers in three hospitals namely Moi Teaching and Referral, Nyeri and Homa Bay Hospitals.

Speaking during a visit to Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) the UK mentors who were assigned to Nyeri Group comprising of Dr Jane Whitehurst, Dr Annette Edwards and Dr Mary Murray indicated that their role is to help mentees cope with any challenges they are facing to improve their ability to offer better palliative care services.

“We help local palliative care leaders understand various situations in palliative care within the hospital setup and in the surrounding areas and help them to consider how services can be improved,” said Dr. Whitehurst.

Dr Murray said that the team does not come in and tell the palliative care team what should be done rather help them understand the situation in which they are operating.

“This will help the doctors and nurses find workable solutions to challenges they may be facing in their day-to-day palliative care service provision,” she said.

The doctors said that it is easier to mentor if one has already worked in a similar environment for she/he understands the environment well.

“We are trying to use available resources and allow palliative care to be part of the general health available to all,” added Dr Whitehurst.

The team said KEHPCA has continually enabled training of palliative care to take place and their hope is to see those trained and mentored become mentors to other providers.

The team said the mentorship approach aims at helping people find solutions to their own problems and realize their own potential.

UK has well established palliative care services and Kenya is well on the road to achieving this. By mentors observing the current practice, and sharing their experience, the mentee feels supported and better informed.  Some of the areas covered during mentorship: clinical care of patients, psychosocial support of patients and relatives, research, data management and networking