Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU), is the national association for palliative care providers in Uganda. It was registered as a Non-Governmental Organization in 2003 with a vision to extend access to palliative care services to all patients and families in need in Uganda. The association is composed of 1200 individual members and 24 member organizations. PCAU coordinates civil society efforts and works closely with the Government of Uganda towards the integration of palliative care services within the health care system across the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines palliative cares as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with a 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”.
PCAU member organizations are therefore involved in activities which;
- Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
- Affirm life and regards dying as a normal process
- Intend neither to hasten nor postpone death
- Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care
- Offer a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death
- Offer a support system to help the family cope during the patients’ illness and in their own bereavement
- Use a team approach to address the needs of patients and their families, including bereavement counseling, if indicated
- Enhance the quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness
- Are applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy, and includes those investigations needed to better understand and manage distressing clinical complications.