What We Do
What is palliative care
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual .”
Palliative Care Association of Uganda
The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) is a National Association which was established in 1999 to support and promote the development of and access to palliative care services in Uganda. PCAU is a member organization for palliative care professionals, care providers and organisations.
The vision of PCAU is “Palliative Care for all in Uganda”.
PCAU’s mission is to promote and support affordable and culturally appropriate palliative care throughout Uganda and its main goal is to increase access to culturally appropriate palliative care through strengthening health care systems in Uganda in collaboration with partners.
PCAU MAIN FOCUS AREA
- To comprehensively integrate palliative care services in every district of Uganda through a system of training, mentorship and support supervision
- To increase awareness and understanding, and effect the necessary policies and procedural changes to increase access to culturally appropriate palliative care
- To be a central hub for data and information on palliative care service provision in Uganda by collecting, storing and regularly disseminating information to improve services.
- To establish a secure financial base though strong membership and partnerships ensuring permanency and relevance of PCAU
WHAT WE DO
PCAU works within the national framework for palliative care and is mandated to provide leadership and coordination for scale-up palliative care services in Uganda
PCAU focuses on integration of palliative care services into the health systems in Uganda through:
Capacity building is the fundamental enabler to scaling-up culturally appropriate services across Uganda. PCAU recognizes the need for greater sustainability in scaling-up. PCAU trains, mentors and supports health care practitioners, so that the provision of palliative care is not dependent on individuals, but embedded within health care services.
PCAU co-ordinates with accredited training organisations (Hospice Africa Uganda and Mildmay Uganda) to ensure sufficient palliative care specialists are trained to cover Uganda.
PCAU trains health workers on the basic palliative care course and trains mentors to carry on mentorship support supervision of trained practitioners within the districts.
PCAU assesses and accredits the health facilities to ensure that they receive morphine and that there is appropriate documentation of its use.
PCAU supports and encourages the development of district, and grouped-district branches, whose roles are to plan advocacy and training within their place of coverage.
ADVOCACY AND AWARENESS CREATION
Advocacy for palliative care in Uganda has been an established practice since palliative care was first introduced in 1993. Since then a sustained advocacy effort from PCAU and its partners has been the driver for the scale-up of palliative care services in Uganda.
National Level: Advocacy at a national level includes Parliamentarians, policy makers, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and national bodies. A sustained campaign will enhance continued understanding and support to the palliative care agenda. In particular, advocacy agenda focuses on budget allocation to palliative care and recognition of Clinical Palliative Care Officers (CPCOs). PCAU also ensures continued morphine availability and utilization through continuous monitoring and support supervision.
District Level: With trained CPCOs, mentors and established hospital palliative care teams, support from the DHO and the senior hospital managers for appropriate palliative care service delivery is very important. The district level advocacy model used by PCAU, which has proved to be successful, involves bringing together neighbouring districts with a mix of established and new services. This allows established districts to mentor upcoming districts, and includes study visits from new services to established services.
Beneficiary Level: Awareness at beneficiary level improves access to services. Using media familiar to them, PCAU reaches people using the language they understand.
INFORMATION COLLECTION AND DISSEMINATION
Information gathering and provision is an essential precursor to effective advocacy, and capacity building. It also creates effective use of services and improved referral pathways. PCAU plays a role as a national hub for information on palliative care service provision and best practice. Through regular data collection and surveys, databases are kept current, and are regularly used to disseminate information and co-ordinate partners. PCAU collaborates with academic organisations nationally and internationally on research. PCAU will support and encourage the development of district, and grouped-district branches, which will plan the advocacy and training within the region and will liaise with the National Association on information gathering and dissemination.
The overall goal of activities implementation in PCAU is to scale-up palliative care service provision within the health system for a sustainable future of palliative care within Uganda.
PCAU carries out its strategic role as secretariat to the Palliative Care Country Team-PCCT and works closely with the MoH, in coordinating palliative care services, morphine availability and in scaling-up services across the country.