Last week, advocates representing Kenyan, Ugandan and South African, regional and global organisations convened in Kampala to coordinate a strategy for palliative care inclusion into Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
The strategic planning meetings held from 11- 12 April and supported by the Open Society Foundations, aimed to identify opportunities and barriers to palliative care integration into national, regional and global UHC plans.
“Africa promises to be a leading light in the realization of universal health coverage with palliative care worldwide. Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda are committed to the implementation of UHC nationally,” said Stephen Connor, Executive Director of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA).
“The spirit of partnership was great,” said Dr. Emmanuel Luyirika, Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association (APCA). “A key highlight was making a case for investment for palliative care inclusion into UHC and eliciting the political will to do so,” he said.
Although palliative care is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a core component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), access to this essential health service has remained limited in Africa due its low integration in main stream health systems.
Key outcomes from these deliberations included plans to:
- Ensure a cohesive advocacy framework was coordinated between the three countries, as well as regionally and globally
- Develop key asks for palliative care inclusion and integration into health systems
- Develop strategies to generate awareness that would be contextualized to country specific influencers.
“WHPCA, APCA, and associations from these three countries all convened to map out a unified process to make UHC a reality. We have positive expectations for what lies ahead,” Connor said.
 World Health Organization, n.d. Questions and Answers on Universal Health Coverage. [pdf] Available at: http://www.who.int/contracting/documents/QandAUHC.pdf