Travel date: August 16, 2016
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 5th International African Palliative Care Conference
Origin: East Coast Demerara, Guyana / Destination: Kampala, Uganda
The conference was very relevant, important and beneficial to me. With about 480 delegates from more than 30 countries, and several opportunities for interaction and exchange of information and ideas, I learnt a lot. My scope and breath in the field of palliative care was greatly widened. Networking opportunities were great and the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation was heightened.
My patients are the greatest beneficiaries of my newly acquired knowledge and skills. I have started integrating into my practice some of the new, effective and innovative therapies and techniques I learnt. I am now a better advocate for palliative care especially to administrators and policy makers. My trainees and colleagues are also being better informed and educated because of my greater knowledge and skills.
The Traveling Scholarship is presently very well organized and executed. The process is simple, effective, efficient, prompt and user-friendly and should continue as it is.
Guyana is a tropical, developing, low resource country located on South America’s North Atlantic Ocean coast and bordered by Venezuela, Brazil and Suriname. It is the only English-speaking country in South America and being a former British territory, it is more closely linked historically, culturally and socially with the Caribbean countries than with the other South American countries. With a land area of 215,000 sq. km. and a population of about 800,000 it is one of the least-densely populated countries in the world. A combination of the vast landscape with poor transport and communication infrastructure and very limited medical and social services makes provision of palliative care a challenge. The very limited medical resources are centralized to the detriment of the widely dispersed mainly rural population. Availability of essential palliative care medications including morphine is erratic. In the last 5 years there has been interest in educating medical officers, nursing staff and allied health workers about palliative care. The 5th International African Palliative Care Conference recently held in Kampala Uganda brought together about 500 delegates from over 30 countries with the common mission of improving palliative care especially in resource-constrained environments. This was a great opportunity for interaction and exchange of ideas and information on contemporary issues in palliative care cutting across traditional boundaries. The various areas and aspects of palliative care were adequately covered catering to its multidisciplinary nature and teams. In spite of the diverse locations of the delegates, what was evident was that the challenges and problems facing palliative care were quite similar and common and the conference provided a forum that stimulated a spirit of constructive inquiry and innovation to address these according to individual situations and resources. Indeed, the theme of the conference “Differentiated care for diverse communities” was most appropriate. I learnt a lot during the conference that can be readily and appropriately be applied to effectively improve palliative care in Guyana.