The first mapping study of palliative care in Africa has been launched by the African Palliative Care Association. Their Atlas of Palliative Care in Africa 2017 provides comprehensive and up-to-date information on the development of palliative care across the continent.
The report reveals that despite considerable development of palliative care services across the continent in recent years, provision remains limited and unequal.
Kenya is amongst the countries leading the way in palliative care development. The hard work of our partner KEHPCA (Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association) has seen over 70 hospices and palliative care services established across the country, including 12 providing home-based care. Their close coordination with the Kenya Ministry of Health is ensuring that palliative care is incorporated into medical school and nursing training curriculums, and that palliative care services are in the early stages of integration into government health services.
However, the study shows that there are still many gaps in palliative care provision in Kenya.
It is estimated that only 3,000 people were cared for last year; just a fraction of those in need of end-of-life care.
There are only two specialist services for children; less than 1% of children in need of end-of-life care have access.
Many Kenyans are dying in pain due to barriers to the distribution and prescription of morphine (an opioid painkiller). The average opioid consumption per person per year in Kenya is just 2.86mg compared to 120mg in Europe.
There is no national health budget funding allocated to palliative care, and no stand-alone palliative care plan for the country.
We will continue to work together with partners in Kenya to build on the successes and ensure that the progress made in developing palliative care is scaled up to reach even more people in need of quality end-of-life care.