The 3rd Edition of the Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine states the following.
Uganda serves as a brilliant model, like Wisconsin and Catalonia, for the importance of an integrated government and community non-governmental approach. Each one by themselves in isolation, will not achieve much.
Why does Uganda get such acclaim along with Wisconsin and Catalonia?
- A clear National Policy for Palliative Care
- Incorporation of Palliative Care within curricula for doctors and nurses
- Workshops in palliative care and pain relief (eg CME)
- Affordable morphine has now been made much easily available
- Generic morphine production has been undertaken (as shown in the film)
- Qualified nurses are able to prescribe morphine
- Hospice Africa Uganda is a great resource for education and training
- HIV/AIDS support organizations are supporting Palliative Care
- Missionary hospitals are contributing with government hospitals.
These efforts are ongoing. At the 4th biannual conference of The Palliative Care Association of Uganda this week, the Minister of State for Higher Education this week conferred diplomas in the Nurse Prescribing Course to 82 nurses and clinical officers. And the Minister of Health announced the procurement of enough drugs to meet the increasing demand of patients throughout the country, efforts that have involved the Union of International Cancer Control’s Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI).
Much of the focus of palliative care has been on those with HIV/AIDS and the Conference heard that only 1.9% of people suffering from Non-communicable diseases in Uganda receive palliative care. With low numbers of physicians, especially in rural areas, nurses with the ability to prescribe morphine are essential for the provision of palliative care throughout Uganda and countries in similar situations.
Uganda does indeed serve as a brilliant model for an integrated approach to palliative care!