The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) has petitioned Parliament for a national palliative care policy which will facilitate access to services by the terminally ill.
In a meeting with the Speaker of Parliament, Anita Among, on Monday, 12 December 2022 in her boardroom, the PCAU emphasised the need to provide care for terminally-ill people to continue with treatment and care from the comfort of their homes.
Dr Henry Ddungu, the president and chairperson of the PCAU board noted that palliative care in the country was greatly constrained by funding to the different hospices in the country like Matany Hospital, Hospice Africa Uganda and Kitovu Mobile among others.
Hospice care is a programme that provides special care to people who have stopped treatment to cure or control a disease and are near their end of life.
“We are calling upon you, Speaker, to find ways of supporting the different hospices in Uganda – they are willing to reach out to the people but they do not have the mechanism to reach their clients, they do not have vehicles, they do not have staff,” he said.
Mark Mwesiga, the PCAU Executive Director revealed that there was a growing number of terminally-ill people who prefer to be treated from their homes.
The Speaker pledged that Parliament would process the palliative care legislation and also push for a budget for home-based care.
Speaker Among further tasked the health ministry carry out mass sensitisation on palliative care.
“Much as somebody is not going to get cured of the sickness that he or she is treating – and even if someone is to pass on, it should not be in pain – and you know these people have cancer which is difficult to treat – as a ministry, you should ensure that people know about palliative care.”
Dr Moses Muwanga, the Assistant Commissioner for Medical Services at the Ministry of Health revealed that the ministry only provided palliative care at general and regional referral hospitals. The hospices are only allotted medicine.
On behalf of the Speaker, Hon. Amos Kankunda (NRM, Rwampara County) presented a donation of Shs5 million for the purchase of a motorcycle to facilitate home-based care.