Background and Context:
Over 80% percent of cancer cases in Kenya present late, when very little can be achieved with therapeutic intervention1 . Accessing cancer screening and treatment is one of the major hurdles cancer patients face. For most, palliative care (PC) seems to be the only option left to support them and their families1
For many years PC in Kenya has been provided by a few hospices, thus making access very limited to many who are in need. Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) is working to change this so that many who are in need of palliative care (PC) can easily access it closer to their home regions. This is through the integration PC in the public health care system.
Palliative care has now been recognised as an essential element of care for cancer patients. It is ncluded in the: Kenya National Patients’ Rights Charter; the National Cancer Control Strategy, and the National Guidelines for Cancer Management.
KEHPCA is working closely with the Ministry of Health to integrate palliative care as an essential service in government hospitals and so far 40 high volume hospitals have set up palliative care units.
Over 500 multi- displinary health care workers have undergone a basic training in PC and have started palliative care units within their institutions. Since the inception of the project, over 4000 cancer patients have received services.
Outcomes/What was learned:
Morphine powered is now on the essential medicine list for the county and has been made available where PC services are available. Integrating palliative care in the public health care system is essential for a successful palliative care program in a country.