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Another leap for palliative care: Migori County

Author: Hannah Njoroge
23 May 2017

Did you know that only 3% of Kenyans have access to palliative care services? That is why Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA) advocates for integration of palliative care in every corner of this country. In regards to this, Director of Programs, Dr. Asaph Kinyanjui and Advocacy Director David Musyoki, travelled to Migori County to support the incorporation of these services into their health care system.

It is good to note that Migori County is on the front line in ensuring that those in need of palliative care will actually start receiving it. The county has taken a step further by supporting two nurses in undertaking a higher diploma palliative care course at Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC). The nurses have also undergone mentorship and the county has a lot of confidence in them. They believe they now have the skills required in offering quality health care services to inpatient, outpatient, referrals and patients in need of home-based care.

Jane Barasa, one of the trained nurses, conducted a survey that indicates that the number of people suffering from cancer of esophagus and HIV &AIDS in this county is alarming and hence the need to have palliative care integrated as soon as possible. This is therefore a wakeup call to health care facilities in the region to also embrace this care.

KEHPCA held a meeting with the county administrator and nursing officials in which they pledged their support. However, they said that they currently do not have a room to coordinate their services but are looking into the matter. They requested KEHPCA to participate in their palliative care unit official launch and to also help coordinate trainings.

"We pledge to continue supporting the integration of palliative care in this county and also other counties in Kenya," said Dr. Asaph Kinyanjui.

Kisii and Homabay counties border Migori and are offering palliative care services. Integration of palliative care services in Migori will ensure that patients do not have to travel long distances to seek this care. KEHPCA with support of its partners continues its quest of taking palliative care to the 47 counties in Kenya.

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