The Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa (IHPCA), a higher education institution born of a collaboration between Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU) and Makerere University, is the first tertiary Institute specialising solely in palliative care in Africa.
Education has been part of the model of care provided by HAU right from the start in 1993, teaching nurses, doctors as well as family carers about palliative care. These early days informed the interconnected holistic model of care that is in place today and that is still evolving as research increasingly illuminates what is most appropriate for clinical, as well as spiritual and psychosocial care.
We have an ongoing development process for our team members within HAU, and also distil our learning from our experience. Just recently we ensured that team members of both the IHPCA and HAU had the opportunity to review their own spiritual practices, how they inform their work, what boundaries are appropriate within the palliative care context in Africa, and what difficulties are being experienced in practice. This was rewarding and sustaining for the practitioners as well as developmental for practice.
As the organisation has grown, the education side of HAU has become well-known and sought after for learning about palliative care in Africa. This year IHPCA will become a legally separate organisation, owned by HAU. The two organisations will retain their interdependent model through a common mission and vision and ethos, and sharing of support services such as HR and Finance, and having complementary strategic plans, goals and objectives.
The new logo reflects this new and exciting opportunity to reach more potential practitioners across Africa.
22 January 2013 was the most special day so far in the short history of the IHPCA. On this day, 25 students graduated with Bachelor of Science in Palliative Care and a Diploma in Palliative Care at Makerere University’s 63rd graduation ceremony. The BSc graduates are the first cohort to graduate with a degree in palliative care. The BSc and Diploma in Palliative Care programmes are offered by IHPCA and conferred by Makerere University.
Another first this year was the award of the Ian Jack Memorial Prize. This award was donated by Professor Barbara Jack PhD, MSc, director of the Evidence-based Practice Research Centre (EPRC) and Head of Research and Scholarship at Edge Hill University, UK, in memory of her father Ian Jack. Professor Jack has been a loyal supporter of Hospice Africa Uganda, lending her expertise to help students strengthen their research understanding and skills. She has published many papers and presented them at international meetings and conferences. She has a particular research interest in community volunteering, which is essential to reaching the poorest members of the population at their homes in the villages.
The Ian Jack Memorial Prize is donated to the graduate who not only succeeded academically, but who was observed to have overcome many difficulties to complete this distance learning programme. The 2013 prize took the form of a book, The Oxford Textbook of Palliative Medicine, as well as a certificate.
The first winner of the prize was Ms.Tsikai Franciscah Ndayiziveyi of Island Hospice, Harare, Zimbabwe. She had demonstrated dedication to the needs of the patient and family, as well as teaching palliative care in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries, thus contributing to the relief of suffering in Africa.
Upon receiving the award, Ms Ndayiziveyi said: “Thank you very much for choosing me to have the prestigious Ian Jack Memorial Prize 2013. I felt so honoured to receive the award and the certificate. This book will go a long way as I will use it to further my studies as well as train others."
Look out for interviews with graduates of the IHPCA in future editions of ehospice.