HAU, based in Kampala, has won the coveted 2013 APCA Institutional Advocacy Award. The award was based on the 20 years of patient care, advocacy and education at HAU that was formally celebrated in May this year and is officially commemorated this week.
HAU was founded in 1993 by offering services to cancer patients, but soon extended its care to people living with HIV/AIDS in 1994. Today the hospice is an accredited leader and one of the few institutions in Uganda and sub-Saharan Africa to provide and build capacity for pain and symptom management and end of life care.
Founder Professor Dr Anne Merriman was also honoured with a Lifetime Achievers Award celebrating her unwavering commitment to palliative care in Uganda and across Africa.
Commenting on the awards, Hospice Africa Uganda’s Executive Director, Zena Bernacca, said, “I am delighted that dedication of the hundreds of people both in Uganda and across the world have contributed to ensuring Hospice Africa Uganda has been able to flourish and take a lead in the area of palliative health care HAU has been recognised through these awards.. Anne’s contribution has been rightly singled out – I cannot think of anyone who deserves this accolade more than her.”
She continued, “These awards are an opportunity not just to celebrate what has been achieved, but also to look to the future. This is an opportunity to raise awareness about the care that is needed and how governments can support such care; how health systems can embrace this specialty; and highlight the difference palliative care makes to the patient and their family as they live with life-limiting illnesses or come to terms with end of life care – that everyone deserves to receive such care and that right here in Uganda, we can be proud that we are leading the way in palliative care delivery and education in Uganda and across Africa.”
Commenting on the awards, APCA’s Executive Director Dr Emmanuel Luyirika said, “Dr Anne Merriman is an inspiration to many in the palliative care community and beyond. She has devoted her life to those who are suffering and has had the foresight to recognise that it is through educating others; from carers to Ministers of Health and all the health professionals along the way that more patients will be seen, more quickly. I am delighted that we can pay this tribute to her and the energy and tenacity she brings to her work.”
He continued, “Hospice Africa Uganda this year marked its 20th Anniversary. In the last 20 years it has advocated continuously for changes in law to enable patients to receive the care they need. It advocated for nurses and Clinical Officers to access the training they need to deliver Palliative Care and is now held up as a positive example all across Africa. I am delighted that it has been recognised for this long-standing commitment to both the delivery of palliative care to patients and their families, and the advocacy needed to ensure palliative care is included in health professionals’ training.”