Travel date: May 18, 2017
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 15th European Association Palliative Care Conference
Origin: Kampala, Uganda / Destination: Madrid, Spain
This meeting availed me the opportunity to interact with outstanding researchers in palliative care. The work presented was novel and the content was rich in all aspects of palliative care. I learned and shared experiences with so many palliative care providers world over. I was also able to network and create new relationships and collaborations. This meeting inspired me to pursue a research career in palliative care and do more studies that can impact patient care in Uganda. I hope to attend the next EAPC meeting in Berlin with better work to present.
Being able to share the work done as well as gain new ideas and insights in carrying out evidence based research will enable me carry out more impactful studies in Uganda. I will apply new models of care that have been successfully pioneered elsewhere and contextualize them to my setting of practice. I will spearhead a research culture in my team through discussions and critiquing of relevant articles. I will encourage my team members to improve documentation and recording of patient data that can be utilized for future research. I will engage hospital administrators to aid training of nurses, pharmacists and general practitioners. Their approval for space and time allocation to train the health workers will be sought. I will apply the new evidence generated to review literature as a background for my PhD thesis in patients with advanced breast cancer. Utilization of knowledge gained in teaching and mentoring undergraduate/postgraduate students that rotate in my department will be achieved. Networks and partnerships created will be followed up for future collaborative research that is more cross cutting and impactful. My attendance of the EAPC 2017 will be an inspiration to my team member, colleagues to carry out research in relevant topics so as to present their findings in future conferences. As we develop the Masters of Science in palliative care at Hospice Africa Uganda, we will utilize some of the findings presented at the conference in some modules of this program. Learners will be able to derive meaningful experiences from studies carried out and published in different palliative care settings
The IAHPC should maintain and improve support for travel to young researchers like me. This provides the only avenue through which young researchers can attend impactful conferences like the EAPC congresses. The IAHPC should create and provide a platform through which young researchers can share, network and collaborate to improve palliative care practice in their various areas. The IAHPC should recognize and financially support upcoming researchers who have created a difference in how palliative care is delivered in their practice.
Provision of palliative care in Uganda is challenging in many ways. These challenges emanate from the health care setup and patients/ families that we care for. They include lack of efficient health care systems, essential drug stock outs, cultural barriers to palliative care and few opioid prescribers among others. Palliative care also is a new concept to many health care providers and few understand what it entails. These challenges make provision of palliative care in developing countries especially Uganda extremely difficult. Whilst these challenges exist, there is high unmet palliative care needs for most of our patients. Two thirds of them present with advanced disease with no chance of cure. Additionally majority have high symptom burden and multidimensional needs that require a multidisciplinary approach. With the lack of an efficient health care system, investigations and treatment delays exist. Also, involvement of palliative care in management of most patients is done fairly late during the course of disease. All these compound patient suffering hence poor quality of life as patients approach end of life. The greatest need for these patients lies in provision of early multidisciplinary approach through integration of palliative care services into already existing systems. The second need is streamlining procurement and supply chains for essential medicines to avoid rampant stock outs. There is also need for sensitization of the public and awareness campaigns about efficient palliative care services to address cultural barriers that are still widely spread. Ongoing training of health care providers at all levels and integration of palliative care into institutional curriculums must take centre stage to improve the numbers of opioid prescribers. Knowledge acquired from the EAPC 2017 conference will be applied in teaching and mentoring undergraduate/postgraduate students that rotate in the department of palliative care. As we develop the Masters of Science in palliative care at Hospice Africa Uganda, we will utilize some of the findings presented at the EAPC 2017 conference in some modules of this program. Learners will be able to derive meaningful experiences from studies carried out and published in different palliative care settings. New models of care that have been successfully pioneered elsewhere can be utilized and contextualized into my setting of practice. Multidisciplinary team meetings should be highly encouraged to achieve good symptom control and address high unmet multidisciplinary needs of most of our patients. Tireless advocacy, negotiations and lobbying for palliative care positions in government establishments such as public hospitals should be maintained. Hospital administrators will be engaged to aid training of nurses, pharmacists and general practitioners. Their approval for space and time allocation within the hospital setup will be sought. There is great need to drive the research agenda in palliative care to find solutions for existing challenges and generate evidence to guide practice. Being able to share the work done in Mulago hospital enabled me gain new ideas and insights in carrying out evidence based research that will be more impactful. With the skills gained from the EAPC 2017 conference, I am in better position to strengthen the research culture in my team through discussions of relevant articles. Encouragement of better data collection methods and data management should be of central focus. This data can then be utilized for future research. The networks and relationships made during the EAPC 2017 conference will be followed up for collaborative research that is more cross cutting and relevant to our setting. Last but not least, my attendance to the EAPC 2017 conference will be an inspiration to my team members and colleagues to carry out research in relevant topics and present their findings in future conferences.