The Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) has been holding National Palliative Care Biennial Conferences since 2003. To date, a total of 9 conferences have been held. The conferences bring together people from all rounds of the world. With great support from the Ministry of Health, the conferences offer a platform for palliative care researchers, academicians, and service implementers to share their discoveries, innovations, and work.
The first conference was held in 2003 at Uganda Manufacturers Association, Lugogo (UMA hall), the 2nd conference was held in 2005 in Jinja at Jinja Nile Resort Hotel, the 3rd conference was held in 2007 at Hotel Africana. The 4th conference in 2009, the 5th conference in 2011, the 6th conference in 2013, and the 7th conference in 2015 all at Imperial Royale Hotel.
In 2017, PCAU partnered with the Uganda Cancer Institute on its 50th anniversary and held the UCI – PCAU Joint International Conference at Speke Resort Hotel Munyonyo which brought together a wider audience in the Cancer and Palliative care world. It is this partnership that folded into the 2nd Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care in 2019. The theme of the conference was “Towards Universal Coverage” which was widely discussed by the different keynote speakers as well as presenters. The chief guest Rt. Hon Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of the Republic of Uganda appreciated the work being done in the Cancer and Palliative care fraternity, discussed some of the strategies that are being applied to strengthen cancer and Palliative Care service provision. He confirmed that the government of Uganda is dedicated to investing more in cancer and Palliative Care and making sure that we move towards Universal Health Coverage. In the end, he noted that the goal is to leave no one behind. He officially opened the conference.
Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng, the Minister of Health deliberated on the new National Health Insurance Scheme, reassuring delegates that cancer and Palliative Care service provision has been included in the insurance scheme. She further stated that Palliative Care is now allocated a full division in the Ministry of Health and they have included Palliative Care consultant positions in the three major hospitals in Kampala including Mulago, Kawempe, and Kiruddu.
This particular conference was also a celebration of 20 years of Palliative Care advocacy in Uganda which was done during the conference dinner dubbed PCAU@20 where awards were presented to individuals and organizations in recognition of their contribution to PCAU and Palliative Care in Uganda at large. The Uganda Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care is an event held biannually to showcase cancer and Palliative Care research conducted, share strategies for standardization of cancer care across Sub-Saharan Africa, document resources available for care, research, and training, and promote collaborative work on cancer and Palliative Care research and training.