Only one in ten Kenyans have access to palliative care services. There are no specialist services for children, and only one percent of children have access to palliative care.
We believe that people with terminal and life-limiting illness have a right to live with dignity, free from pain and suffering. Living and dying in pain, fear and isolation is unacceptable.
We are working together with partners in Kenya to change this by supporting them to develop and deliver quality palliative care services.
Training medical and nursing staff
The availability of qualified and trained health professionals is vital for the delivery of palliative care services in Kenya. The compassion, understanding and support of a trained palliative care nurse can make a big difference to the life of a person with terminal illness and their family members.
We sponsor students to complete the Kenya Medical Training College Diploma in Palliative Care. Many of the students on this course go on to train and mentor other health care professionals in Kenya.
Palliative care in the community
Many people requiring palliative care in Kenya live in remote rural areas. Others are house-bound by their illness or too poor to afford the cost of travelling to a hospice. Large distances and the remoteness of some communities pose a significant challenge to palliative care nurses and health workers in visiting patients at home. Many therefore lack any access to palliative care.
We prioritise the development of palliative care in the community to ensure more people can access these vital services.
In rural areas of Kenya basic health care is often provided by community health workers, many of them volunteers. We support training for community workers so that they understand, and can provide the essentials, of palliative care.
We also support the cost of transport for home visits by health workers visiting patients at home. We fund motorcycles, cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles suitable for tough, rural terrain to enable home visits to support isolated and housebound patients.
Medicines and pain relief
Many Kenyans are dying in pain due to barriers to the distribution and prescription of morphine. The Kenyan government plans to provide morphine free of charge to hospitals and hospices over the next few years, but this is not yet fully operational and systems are not yet in place to ensure that there are supplies in rural areas.
We support the supply of drugs, particularly morphine, and other medical supplies. We purchase drugs to give to patients free of charge, and will continue to do so until there is no longer a need.
Start-up support for new hospices
Hospices in Kenya receive no government funding. We therefore provide support for start-up costs to help establish new hospices, including contributing to equipment. Several hospices and services have started up with our help, most recently those at Nakuru and Kijabe and the Machakos and Garissa palliative care units.
All of the hospices work hard at fundraising to maintain their facilities but sometimes there are shortfalls. To cover gaps we temporarily support hospice staff costs in order to maintain essential services.
Advocacy and development of the hospice and palliative care movement in Kenya
There is no free government provision of palliative care services in Kenya. There is no national health budget funding allocated to palliative care, and no stand-alone palliative care plan for the country.
Supporting advocacy and raising awareness are important in ensuring that palliative care continues to develop and becomes integrated into government health care provision in the future. We work closely with the Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA), which promotes the development of palliative care services in Kenya through advocacy, advice and training. KEHPCA works closely with the government in Kenya to roll out palliative care provision in all hospitals.
Support this work to ensure that, in Kenya, no one has to die in pain.