Grantee details

Traveling Scholars Program Report

Agasha Doreen Birungi, DR

Travel date: September 7, 2021

Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 2021 Oceanic Palliative Care Conference (21OPCC)

Origin: Kampala, Uganda / Destination: Fyshwick, Australia

How was this meeting/activity helpful to you?

I learned a lot from the conference.

I learned about how other PC providers overcame the challenges associated with the COVID19 pandemic.

I attended the presentation on financing palliative care. It was very enlightening and I realized it is not only in LMICs that we struggle with raising funding for PC.

“Live as well as possible, as long as possible” was the theme of the art competiton and it spoke to me in a special way. It is the goal of care in palliation. It helps me in my setting where palliative care is associated with comfortable death as opposed to better quality of life.

How will you new knowledge & acquired skills help in furthering your work in hospice and palliative care in your program/city/ or country?

In my setting, I would like to adopt the theme of the art completion, “Live as well as possible, as long as possible”. This will help me promote PC in my setting where people fear PC because it may mean death is imminent.

I also have a new zeal for fundraising as well as a new zeal for resource mobilization in our setting. Dependence on partners abroad is not entirely bad but they too have challenges maintaining PC.

Then, I am working on messaging and content to share with our Government to see what extra support can be given for sustenance of hospices in my country.

How IAHPC Traveling Scholars Program be improved in order to help other future traveling scholars?

I am very happy with the way the scholarship is organized and administered. Thank you for supporting us especially in LMICs to attend these conferences and to pursue education / skilling in PC. This was my second international PC conference. I really appreciate.

Narrative summary highlighting the needs and challanges you face

“Live as well as possible, as long as possible”
When a patient is referred for palliative care in my country, some of them feel that death is imminent and some of their family members feel that the doctors referring them are giving up. When we PC providers engage with these patients the first time, we find ourselves convincing patients and families that we are not ‘angels of death’ but rather promoters of life, an acceptable quality of life. We coined the phrase ‘adding life to days’ at Hospice Africa Uganda and we run with this for a while. Now, I would like to adopt this new one I learned from the art exhibition at the 21OPCC, Live as well as possible, as long as possible. This is what we want to achieve with each patient and each family. Even in the time of dying, we desire to be with the family so that it is not entirely traumatic to the family. COVID19 really brought out the pain of loved ones dying in seclusion and this was unacceptable to many. So, PC is good and important for us in life limiting illness.