On Friday, June 26th 2020, PCAU held its Annual General Meeting for the first time as a virtual meeting. Following restrictions on movement and social-distancing measures in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, PCAU streamed the meeting live from the secretariat with members joining in remotely via Zoom.
The meeting was well attended by both individual and organizational members of the Association as well as partners. The Country Director, President & chair of the board, Ministry of Health officials as well as other stake holders were able to discuss all items on the agenda as it has always been in the past general meetings.
The President & chair of the board Dr. Henry Ddungu moderated the meeting, he welcomed all members who were online and informed them that there was need for a resolution to constitute a convocation to hold an online AGM, which motion was seconded by 2 PCAU members, and the meeting was officially opened. He noted some of the achievements from the past year, thanked the international advocates who worked tirelessly to keep pushing palliative care services, especially those who worked around the new definition of palliative care. In a special way, he requested members to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of the late Peter Byaruhanga Bagorogoza and the late Rose Nabatanzi Mubiru.
PCAU was pleased to share its 2019 Annual Report which contained an overview of the Associationâ€™s overall performance in 2019 as well as a summary of the audited financial statements for 2019. The chairman of the Board commended the Associationâ€™s 2019 performance.
The Country Director, Mark Donald Mwesiga, expressed his gratitude to the board members that greatly support PCAUâ€™s work. He thanked the Ministry of Health as well as PCAU members for their continuous support and the assistance they have offered the Association in the past years.
Dr. Jackson Amone, the Commissioner Clinical Services at the Ministry of Health, updated members on the national response to COVID-19 where he noted the progress, some of the challenges as well as the way forward as far as fighting the pandemic is concerned. He informed the meeting that palliative care is under the sub pillar of mental health and psychosocial support in the structure of management of COVID-19. He also noted that government left private not for profit hospitals, general hospitals and other health centers to attend to people with other conditions so that they do not interface with COVID-19 patients.
As the meeting came to an end, Dr. Charles Olaro, the Director Clinical and Curative Services at Ministry of Health, who spoke on behalf of Dr. Diana Atwine, the guest of honor, highlighted that palliative care is a key aspect of Universal Health Coverage, and without its inclusion, UHC cannot be achieved in Uganda.
He noted that ministry of health is doing everything possible to have palliative care for UHC, among which include increasing the number of palliative care providers in the country, and restructuring the regional referral hospitals to include palliative care positions at different levels of care. In addition, essential palliative care medicines will be captured as they review the medicines list, to include equipment, patient support devices and technologies. We take this opportunity to thank all members for joining the meeting and all staff for the hard work that went into making this meeting possible. We are looking forward to welcoming you again next year.