IAHPC awarded stipends to help three of our members attend the 5th Kenya National Palliative Care Conference, held in November in Nairobi. The theme was, ‘Investing in Palliative Care for Universal Health Coverage.’ The conference brought together more than 280 participants from Africa, Europe, and the United States. This is the report of one of the stipend recipients.
Dr. Hellen Kariuki, Department of Medical Physiology, School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi
I am always interested in new knowledge and especially pain and pain management, so when the advert for this palliative care conference came up, I knew I had to attend. IAHPC made this possible for me and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Day one was workshops and mine was on pain education. I was impressed by just how many people have been trained by the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative that has focused on hospitals and aims to train 80-90% of hospital health care workers. The efforts are improving pain management despite the many challenges encountered. As I work in pain education, this workshop was exciting and informative.
Universal health coverage (UHC) was the topic of day two with all the experts in the field explaining what it is, how it works, and the impact on the general public and politics. For the first time I understood UHC more fully. My take-home message was that incorporating a palliative care kit in UHC is very affordable. Not incorporating it is super expensive for patients and their families. In Kenya, UHC is one of the big four agendas of the current government.
It was the first conference where the dementia society was represented. Most of us had memories of a loved one who suffered dementia, and the helplessness that we experienced.
How I wished I knew about palliative care when my late grandmother suffered dementia. The stories of patients and families who have benefitted, and continue to benefit, from palliative care crowned the conference; it is for them that palliative care exists.
It was also a time to catch up with other palliative care workers and opinion shapers, and to just appreciate how much we are each doing in our spheres of influence to promote palliative care. It was time to share and encourage each other on this very noble journey; a time to network and brainstorm on how to improve upon what we are doing, a time to laugh, to cheer, and to celebrate.
Note: Dr. Kariuki presented the abstract ‘Access to Pain Relief Advocate.’
Go here to find out more about IAHPC’s Program Support Grants, Traveling Scholarships, and Traveling Fellowships. Through these programs we support projects and individuals around the world, especially in developing countries in Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
You can contribute to this program and help palliative care workers attend and participate in congresses and courses by donating to the Traveling Scholarships Campaign in the Global Giving website.