Travel date: March 15, 2018
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: Palliative Care Research Society (PCRS) and Association of Palliative Medicine (APM) joint conference
Origin: Kampala, Uganda / Destination: Bournemouth, UK
The conference gave me an opportunity to share about Palliative care in Uganda through the poster that I presented including the work of our partner Cairdeas IPCT. It was such a pleasure to meet people who have worked and supported Palliative care in Uganda and those with an interest of working in Palliative care in Uganda. It was wonderful to meet professionals with vast knowledge in Palliative care, to listen and learn from them. It was also a great opportunity for me to network and get contacts for possible collaborations.
Mobilization for resources for Research grants to enable us provide evidence based Palliative care in order to improve the quality of life of the patients and families that we care for as well get opportunities to share what we do in our resource limited settings, through presentations, publications at both local and international forum that would influence policy, clinical practice and advocacy for Palliative care. It was an opportunity to interact with the international community and I was able to get contacts for possible research collaborations and partnerships as we have a lot of resources to tap in terms of data that has been collected and patient stories. I was also able to appreciate the services that are offered in other parts of the world in comparision to what is offered back home with limited resources. One of the other lessons learnt was that even in communities with more resources they still have their own challenges.
IAHPC is doing a great job providing scholarships so even scholars in the low income countries are able to get opportunities of learning and sharing with our counterparts. Would be good for the scholars to have an opportunity of a placement in the countries they are visiting to allow them experience Palliative care in a different setting but are often limited by the grant so would be helpful if IAHPC provided a recommendation or liaised with other donors for grant top ups.
Some of the major challenges to provision of Palliative care is working in settings where resources as so limited that even access to basic pain medications is not guaranteed and patients presenting so late in the disease journey, this is attributed mainly to knowledge gaps and attitudes of clinicians, pharmacists who prescribe it. We all know that access to pain medication is a basic human right thus need for advocacy. We have had so PC approved for so many years but the care givers are not yet legally recognized as the policy has not yet been approved. A lot effort is towards curative and primary health care. I learnt appreciated that in the developed world Pc is fully recognized as a specialty which is a motivation for the care givers. Ineffective systems and poor infrastructure compromise quality of care as they contribute to late presentations of patients, leaving Palliative care as the only option left. Given the limited resources this leads to frustrations of health care givers and calls for political involvement and their will to ensure policies are in place.