On 14th October, World Hospice and Palliative Care Day takes place; a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world. This years’ theme is ‘Don’t leave those suffering behind’. This is to recognise that in 42% of the world’s countries there is ZERO availability of palliative care, and it is the poorest countries that are most in need. 78% of people in need of end-of-life care live in developing countries. When someone gets sick, many families in developing countries face poverty and destitution due to high costs of care, lack of income of the person who is ill, and costly travel when treatment and care services are situated far from home.
Kenya’s first hospice opened in Nairobi in 1991 with the support of Hospice Care Kenya. There are now more than 70 small hospices and palliative care outpatient units, and Kenya is at the forefront of palliative care development in Africa. This progress is credit to the hard work and expertise of our Kenyan partners such as KEHPCA (Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association) and Kenyan hospices, and support from Hospice Care Kenya has been instrumental.
However, many gaps remain; just 1 in 10 people have any access to palliative care; with only 1% of children able to access appropriate care. Many Kenyans are dying in pain due to barriers to the distribution and prescription of morphine. There is no national health budget funding allocated to palliative care, and no stand-alone palliative care plan for the country.
The money we raise supports the work of our Kenyan partners to train health professionals and community volunteers, provide free drugs and pain relief, provide community outreach for isolated and house-bound patients, and support the start-up of new hospices.