Last night at the PCAU (Palliative Care Association of Uganda) Conference being held at the Speke Resort in Kampala, ICPCN’s Chief Executive, Professor Julia Downing, was presented with an award in recognition of her personal contribution to the development of palliative care within Uganda and her great contribution to the founding of the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU).
The award was presented to Prof Downing by Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, from the Ministry of Health in the Republic of Uganda.
In her speech at the conference, the Hon. Sarah Achieng Opendi spoke about the growth and development of palliative care and how PCAU had collaborated with the Ministry of Health to initiate and scale up the provision of palliative care in the country. She said, “Palliative care is now an important component of health care services at all levels of health care service provision in the country. Currently, 69 out of 112 districts offer palliative care services, and it is spread across government facilities and non-governmental organisations.”
Prof Downing, presently the Chief Executive of ICPCN, and an honorary lecturer in Palliative Care at Uganda’s Makerere University, is an experienced palliative care nurse, educationalist and researcher with a PhD evaluating palliative care training in rural Uganda.
In the past she held the position of DIrector of the Mildmay International Study Centre in Kampala from 2001 to 2006 after which she was employed as the Deputy Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) in Kampala from 2006 to 2011. In this position she was responsible for the development of a BSc in palliative care at Makerere University and Hospice Africa Uganda.
During her time at APCA, she worked at the national, regional and at international levels with regards to advocacy for palliative care for both children and adults as well as on the development and implementation of appropriate palliative care policy.
Professor Downing was made Vice President of PCAU in 2007 as well as a member of the Inaugural Board of Directors for the organisation. She has chaired and co-chaired numerous conferences for PCAU, including the present one.
Speaking after the event, Prof Downing said that the award came as a completely unexpected but welcome surprise and she was thrilled to receive it.
The ICPCN Board of Trustees, the staff and members of ICPCN join together in congratulating Prof Downing on this very well deserved recognition of her tireless work developing palliative care for both adults and children, not only in Uganda, but around the world.