The need for palliative care services in Uganda has increased due to the aging population and the increased number of non-communicable diseases. An estimated 444,268 people in Uganda need Palliative Care services and that it’s important to improve data collection. Jimmy Ogwal the Senior Biostatistician, at the Ministry of Health during a Workshop on Improving National Data on Palliative Care Services in Uganda at the 3rd Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care.
The workshop organized by PCAU was aimed at building on success stories and good practices, develop an action road map for quality Palliative Care data collection and management as well as form a committee of regional Palliative Care data champions for Uganda who will continue to advise the implementation of quality data collection and ensure process and lessons learned are captured so other countries may use this information as they establish quality Palliative Care data collection.
Jimmy added that the integrated data management system; the Health Management Information System (HMIS) is used by development partners, and stakeholders to collect relevant and functional information on a routine basis and it helps to monitor the Health Sector Strategic and Development Plan indicators and enables planning, decision making, monitoring, and evaluation of the health care service delivery system.
To support the national data collection on Palliative Care services, PCAU piloted the mHealth Palliative Care surveillance in May 2015 with support from partners; Center for Hospice Care, Hospices Foundation and others, in four (4) health facilities.
It was later scaled up in 2016 with six (6) facilities to make a total of 10 and a scale-up in 2019 with ten (10) facilities making a total of twenty facilities. These facilities include Arua Regional Referral Hospital, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, Rays of Hope Hospice Jinja, Kabale Regional Referral Hospital, Kawempe Home Care, Kitovu Mobile, Little Hospice Hoima, Masaka Regional Referral Hospital, Mbale Regional Referral Hospital, Hospice Tororo, Adjumani District Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital Lacor, Matany Hospital, Soroti Regional Referral Hospital, Kisoro Hospital, Fort Portal Regional Referral Hospital, Bombo Military Hospital, St. Francis Naggalama Hospital, Hospice Africa Uganda, Mobile Hospice Mbarara.
During the workshop, Cynthia Kabagambe the IT and Data Quality Officer at PCAU noted that In 2020, one of the biggest achievements was the integration of palliative care data collection tools into the HMIS which was a recommendation from the Ministry of Health after the presentation of this surveillance to the eHealth technical working group with the ministry and their implementing partners. Through this integration and dissemination of these tools, we have realized that Palliative Care services have been recognized in the different facilities in Uganda.
Going forward, PCAU is looking forward to redefining key indicators to be collected monthly from the mHealth implementing facilities and hopes to support the strengthening of the National Palliative Care Data and Information System. With the funds being available, we also look forward to having more facilities on board to help us scale up the mHealth surveillance in other regions that have not yet been reached.