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The triumph journey of the palliative care unit at Kitui County Hospital.

Author: Hannah Njoroge
25 April 2017

“Working with patients in need of palliative care is fulfilling. We have met patients who had suicidal thoughts but through our intervention, their stories have changed; they now have the courage to move on with life.However, some of these patients die but we are happy because they do not die in pain,” that was the encouraging feedback given to us by Ruth Ndambuki, a palliative care nurse at Kitui County Hospital.

The Kitui County Hospital is one of the facilities serving a huge population in the area with a functional palliative care unit; thanks to Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) in collaboration with Kitui County Government for supporting the integration of these services. The County has further extended their support by deploying two qualified nurses who are currently offering palliative care services to inpatients, outpatients and referrals from other hospitals. They also coordinate a mentorship program that targets students undertaking palliative care courses.Moreover, as a way of educating those who do not have an idea of what palliative care entail, the nurses conduct continuous medical education (CME) sessions within the hospital on various topics. In addition, they provide community outreach services to patients.

We must agree that these ladies are selfless; sometimes they sacrifice their own resources in order to pay a visit to patients in their homes. That goes without saying that passion drives them to do what they do with a lot of love and compassion. Furthermore, their track record says it all; that they are making a huge impact in Kitui.

Speaking with them, they said working as palliative care nurses at Kitui has been fulfilling because they have seen lives transform from worse to best and that motivates them to keep doing what they do.

They highlighted that there is need to be trained on stoma care and procedural pain for orthopedic department as well as continuous capacity building in palliative care.

The medical superintendent at Kitui County Hospital, Dr.Irene Makite, was happy to receive the positive feedback given by KEHPCA on how well the palliative care unit in Kitui is progressing and guaranteed continued support at her capacity.

During the visit to this county, Director of Programs, Dr Asaph Kinyanjui and Advocacy Officer, David Musyoki, held a meeting with the County Chief Officer, Fredrick Muli and County Assistant Officer, Mr. Silu, to discuss the importance of having palliative care in other health facilities within Kitui County. The meeting was productive and they pledged to support initiatives to have these services integrated and especially in Mwingi.

“KEHPCA will also continue to provide technical support, working closely with the County and Mwingi Hospital to have integrated palliative care services, " said the KEHPCA’s advocacy Director, David Musyoki.

As KEHPCA, we are therefore optimistic that soon more facilities in Kitui County will provide palliative care services.

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