Today is World Hospice and Palliative Care Day; a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.
This year’s event takes place under the banner, “Because I matter”, a theme which highlights the right of terminally ill people to live a full and dignified life, and to encourage governments to dedicate time and money to palliative care as part of Universal Health Coverage.
Palliative Care is well integrated into the health care system in just 20 countries. Kenya has made great progress since the opening of its first hospice in Nairobi in 1991. At the forefront of palliative care development in Africa, Kenya now has more than 70 small hospices and palliative care outpatient units. However, just 1 in 10 people have any access to palliative care; with only 1% of children able to access appropriate care.
To bridge these gaps Hospice Care Kenya is working with hospices to train community health volunteers; training over 350 volunteers this year. These volunteers play a vital role in taking palliative care, including pain and symptom relief, into remote rural communities. They also enable those that are house-bound or too sick to travel to access essential palliative care and pain relief.