E-poster Presentation 2014 World Cancer Congress

The role of a physician in palliative care of cancer patients admitted in a western Kenya county hospital (#707)

Sarah Obuya 1 , William A Agawo 2 , Lynnette A John 2 , Meshack Liru 2 , Peter Odada 3 , Pamela Were 1
  1. Mo Teaching & referral Hospital, Eldoret, KENYA, Kenya
  2. Oncology, Homabay District Hospital, Homabay, Kenya
  3. Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya

Background and Context:

The physician by virtue of handling a large doctor to patient ratio in Homabay County hospital feels over whelmed by offering palliative care services. However emphasis on the significance of these services has had impact on the quality end of life care in patients admitted with cancer of the cervix, lymphomas and other malignancies in the adult medical ward of Homabay County Hospital. Homabay county hospital serves a population of 963,794. Situated on the Southern shores of Lake Victoria, has neither trained oncologist nor palliative care specialist. This called for need to sensitize the physicians and other health care providers to offer this service


1) To sensitize physicians and other health care providers on palliative care as a service.

2) To include early symptom control as part of active management of cancer patients in the adult medical ward


Pretest questionnaires administered  to 24 Physicians clinical officers and nurses providing care to terminally ill patients on basic palliative care knowledge. This was followed by a six weeks twice weekly lectures and short text message reminders on symptom control, accessibility to drugs and other provisions used in symptom management.  Included was also communication on bereavement and psychosocial support. Post test questionnaires were administered after six weeks to assess the impact of the biweekly lectures and short text messages on the quality of palliative care service provision in the medical wards.

Programme/Policy Process:

Outcomes/What was learned:

The physicians felt empowered and did not feel like palliative care service provision was overwhelming.

 They approached the administration on the need to make available morphine and other provisions like colostomy bags for ease of care provision.

Despite being in a resource challenged environment, short term discussions, lectures and even sort text messages can be useful in empowering health care providers in providing care.