The Palliative Care Association of Uganda has petitioned Parliament for the second time in three years ahead of the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2022 commemoration.
According to Mark Donald Mwesiga, Country Director PCAU who delivered the petition to the Speaker of Parliament and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, there is no stand-alone national policy to guide palliative care results in a fragmented approach to palliative care service strategy and delivery in the country, and this is due for discussion.
“The petition appeals to Parliament to consider debating the status of palliative care in Uganda, recognize the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) as a national day in Uganda, and calls upon Parliament to take a stand to participate in this year’s commemoration of WHPCD as a sign of its commitment to ensuring that reduction of health-related suffering due to life-limiting illnesses in Uganda.” Said Mwesiga.
In the petition, it is stated that the Ministry of Health has not implemented the World Health Assembly Resolution (WHA 67.19) on the integration of palliative care services at all levels within the healthcare system which continues to limit the scale of palliative care in the country.
Earlier, on 28th July 2022, at a sensitization meeting for Members of Parliament on the Committee on Health at Fairway Hotel, the Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA), Dr. Luyirika Emmanuel reiterated that Uganda with other African countries committed to dedicating 15% of her budget to the health sector in April 2001 in Abuja Nigeria, but it remains a wish.
Uganda allocates less than 6% to the Ministry of Health which is less than half of the commitment they made and the government contributes less than 18% to the health sector in general. In May 2019, PCAU together with other eight leading civil society organizations working on Palliative Care, Health Rights, and Budget Advocacy petitioned the parliament of Uganda through the then Deputy Speaker Rt Hon. Jacob Oulanyah about the same.
Palliative Care is recognized by the government as an essential service and component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which has a central place in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.