Dr. Esther Cege Munyoro is a neuro-anaesthetist and palliative care specialist with a master’s degree in Palliative Care from Dundee University. She currently heads the Pain and Palliative Care Unit at the Kenyatta National Hospital Nairobi, in Kenya, a unit she founded in 2007. This was the first palliative care unit within the public healthcare system in Kenya. The hospital is a tertiary referral hospital and educates the bulk of healthcare workers in Kenya. Currently the unit serves to offer palliative care to patients but more importantly offers pain and palliative care education to local and international healthcare workers.
Dr. Munyoro is particularly interested in improving ‘total’ pain management for both adults and children, especially those with life-threatening illnesses for which a good quality of life is a priority. This sees her involved in various projects that aim to improve quality of life for those undergoing treatment for life-threatening conditions. An example is a program that trains nurses on the care of patients with stoma, wounds and continence issues. She has lectured in various venues in Kenya and hopes to get pain and palliative care curriculums offered to all healthcare workers in Kenya. She currently serves as a board member in three organizations that advocate for improving treatment and support for patients with life-threatening diseases, Hope for Cancer Kids, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) and Professionals against Cancer (PAC). In January 2016, she joined the Board of Directors of the IAHPC.
In her career she has been involved in various research projects that provide evidence for practice change around palliative care in Kenya. This has seen major improvement in treatment and supportive programs for cancer patients. The data from the latest survey, ‘Challenges faced by cancer patients during cancer treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital’, were used to inform her current activity that involves coordinating the development of three key initiatives funded by the American Cancer Society: the Pain-free hospital initiative, patient navigation programs and the Kenyatta hope hostel building.
Away from work, Esther is a ‘mother’ to two adult children and an adorable dog, ‘Lulu’.