Legal and human rights guidelines on palliative care launched

Categories: Education.

The publications are now official documents of the MoH. They aim to provide technical assistance to the MoH staff, other palliative care organisations, and to patients and their families on legal and human rights issues that affect palliative care service provision. The materials have been published in both English and Luganda to ensure the widest reach with the intention to translate them into more local languages.

The materials were launched on Friday 5, April 2013 by Dr Isaac Ezati, the Director of Planning and Policy at the MoH, who represented the Hon. Minister of Health, Dr Christine Ondoa. At the official launch Dr Ezati welcomed the materials saying, “[The materials] will refocus Uganda as [a] leading country on the legal and human rights issues in health…I would like to urge all of you and your colleagues in the health sector to use these materials.”

He continued, “Please also use these materials to help patients understand their rights and in seeking legal support when required.”

The materials were produced with the leadership of APCA, the MoH, PCAU and the Uganda Network of Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET). They received input from 12 different organisations including Mildmay Uganda, Hospice Africa Uganda and Makerere University Palliative Care Unit, among others.  The materials include guides and posters and have been approved by the MoH as official MoH documents.

Over 4,000 booklets were published offering advice to both health care professionals and patients and their families.

In addition, thousands of posters were printed highlighting issues such as palliative care as a basic human right, Will making, the rights of palliative care patients and supporting a person facing legal issues and human rights violations in palliative care, The posters will be distributed throughout the country to public and private hospitals, NGOs, and legal and human rights organisations for use in the ethical delivery of services and in guiding patients and families.

The Executive Director of APCA, Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, welcomed the new materials saying, “These new materials mark a shift in palliative care provision in Uganda and set a standard in the region. No longer are human rights just part of the theory but they are now firmly part of the practice as well entrenched in official ministry standards.”

He continued, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners but especially the Ministry of Health, the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa and Open Society Institute and the local partners for their support in bringing these documents to publication.”

Through APCA, OSIEA is supporting the dissemination and use of the materials to create awareness on palliative care as a human rights issue. They will also be used to train health care workers and legal practitioners in addressing the legal and human rights needs of palliative care patients and their families.

All of the resources can be found here.

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