Children to access palliative care at Naivasha District Hospital in Kenya

Categories: Community Engagement.

Naivasha District Hospital will soon have a unit to accelerate palliative care service delivery in the region after the team received 40gms of morphine, some tools and reading materials from Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) alongside furniture, courtesy of funds from Hospice Care Kenya (HCK) to equip their unit.

The HCK funds raised through a BBC radio appeal in September 2012 by Mike Wooldridge that featured the plight of children suffering from life threatening illness in Kenya aim at supporting integration/strengthening Pediatric Palliative Care in three hospitals namely Homa Bay, Kisii and Naivasha.

Being one the hospitals set to integrate paediatric palliative care, the team from Naivasha happily received the chairs alongside other furniture to enhance office operations at the unit.

Sharing the progress, palliative care nurse Mary Gacheru said palliative care has been ongoing within the hospital despite not having a designated room to see patients, a challenge occasioned by the new devolution system on governance in the country.

“We are trying to ensure that nurses know that palliative care is part of health care that patients with pain and other distressing symptoms from life limiting illnesses need by guiding them on how to go about it,” said Gacheru.

Despite the limited time she has due to many duties at the hospital, Gacheru said they have no excuse of not seeing patients, both adults and children who need this (palliative) care.

“These reading materials will go a long way in helping us understand more on dosage, especially morphine and other palliative care knowledge that would improve our service delivery,” she said.

She said that with the materials and furniture, the set up pace would improve and once the unit fully starts its functions, they have a lot of activities in the pipeline including starting a support group for mothers with cerebral palsy children. “Most parents have no one to sit with and help them tackle the psychological problems they are going through,” she added.

Accompanying her to pick the items was Dr Esther Gitahi, a pharmacist at the hospital who will help in reconstitution of morphine for the unit.

Dr Gitahi said the hospital previously had injectable morphine adding that the 40 grams received from KEHPCA would go a long way to ease the patient’s pain.

She said that most of patients served in the hospital present with pain and other distressing symptoms which they are able manage as much as possible adding that the setting up of a unit will complement their service delivery.

The team said they do counseling to patients with distressing symptoms and hope to reach more once the unit is up and running following existing support from the hospital administration.

The hospital serves patients from Naivasha, Narok, Kiambu and most parts of Nakuru County.