Background and Context:
A population based study reported 13% of people diagnosed with any cancer in Uganda survived, except for breast cancer, which had 46% survival rate. Relief from physical, psychosocial and spiritual problems faced by patients and their families should be integral to cancer services and this can be achieved in over 90% of patients through palliative care. To make services more accessible to all people in Uganda, a national palliative care policy draft has been developed through collaborative efforts between the African Palliative Care Association, Ministry of Health of Uganda, Palliative Care Association of Uganda and Makerere University and with funding support from the American Cancer Society.
Uganda’s national palliative care policy aims to provide relief from pain and suffering of people with cancer and their families by ensuring access to the highest attainable services at all levels of the health care system through a primary health care approach.
For sustained commitment to improving cancer care, APCA has influenced MOH and other stakeholders to realize the need for a national palliative care policy. By mobilizing evidence, riding on previous achievements and challenges, financial and technical assistance, a policy has been drafted for presentation to the members of parliament and cabinet.
A meticulous review of evidence described the problem requiring policy, viable options for addressing it and implementing strategies. Policy development which used a participatory process, with the leadership of the ministry of health, and contribution of palliative care service providers, researchers, academicians and others has resulted into a draft policy.
Outcomes/What was learned:
The policy will influence the inclusion of palliative care in future national health budgets. Uganda’s policy development experiences will encourage other developing countries to consider the right to health through providing health services, even to those whose disease is beyond cure.