30 years of Palliative Care in Uganda: PCAU energized with a new Strategic Plan

The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) is one of the pioneer national Palliative Care Associations on the African Continent. Founded in 1999, PCAU is the umbrella civil society organization for all who advocate for and support the government to integrate palliative care into Uganda’s health system. 

The association has launched a new strategic plan for the period 2022-2026. The vision of PCAU is Palliative Care for all in Uganda because Palliative Care is everyone’s
business. The mission is to accelerate the provision and integration of palliative care in Uganda’s healthcare system through capacity building, advocacy, research, governance, and resource mobilization.

PCAU’s strategic direction is cognizant of the country’s palliative care achievements for the last 30 years. Dr. Anne Merriman introduced palliative care in Uganda in 1993. Uganda boosts of several achievements since then. Palliative Care services have spread to over 80% of the districts. The government pays for Oral Liquid Morphine to be available for patients in need. Uganda has no standalone national palliative care policy, but all recent health legislation and policies recognize palliative care as an essential service. The recent Ministry of Health has established a Division of Palliative Care with a substantive Assistant Commissioner as the head. With support from PCAU, Uganda has established new palliative care indicators, and developed, and integrated data collection tools into the Health Management Information System (HMIS) and the District Health Information II. The journey to improve Uganda’s palliative care evidence base has started. 

In the next five years, PCAU will work towards addressing the issues mapped out during the summative evaluation of the organization’s last strategic plan. These areas include the need to increase the number of trained health workers to provide palliative care, strengthen the research base, scale up awareness raising to the community, consolidate and further streamline the access to essential medicines and supplies, strengthen focus for palliative care for the children, advocating for national budgetary allocation, supporting child caregivers, establishing a national strategy and standards of care, strengthening spiritual care, advance care, funding and other resources for palliative care as well as strengthening palliative care provision at the community level. The plan also focuses on PCAU preparedness conscious for pandemics, disasters, and the humanitarian situation in Uganda. 

One of the major activities that PCAU is prioritizing raise awareness, training health workers, offering mentorship, conducting support supervision, establishing palliative care teams, and streamlining access to essential medicines including Oral Liquid morphine in the 40 districts without any form of hospice or palliative care service in Uganda. This will reduce the travel distance for individuals in need of care, bring pain relief, reduce health-related suffering, heal families, and transform communities. The service points will sustainably be owned and facilitated by communities.

PCAU is currently running a fundraiser for a new motor vehicle to enable them to achieve their important objective. To donate to their fundraiser please follow this link.


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