Irish Hospice Foundation book, Sons+Fathers, launches in Uganda

Categories: Care.

Sons+Fathers is a beautifully produced, high-quality hardback which was published by the Irish Hospice Foundation in Ireland last June. It has been sold all over the world since its launch and the Foundation has donated books to HAU to help its fund raising efforts.

All proceeds from the sale of Sons+Fathers will go directly to Hospice Africa Uganda (HAU), a registered not-for-profit charity which is facing a serious funding crisis.

HAU founder and 2014 Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Dr Anne Merriman, who trained in UCD in Ireland, issued an urgent appeal at the book launch for donations, warning that if funding is not forthcoming services may have to be cut back and sick and dying patients, in critical need of pain relief, will continue to suffer. 

In this context, Uganda was shown to be 35th of 80 countries in the Quality of Death Index in 2015 and hailed for the work of the country’s palliative care teams.

Every shilling raised from the sale of Sons+Fathers in Kampala will go to HAU which is currently looking after more than 2,000 patients and families every month from their three sites in Kampala, Mbarara and Hoima.

The book is priced at 75,000 Ug Shillings, enough to provide care and pain relief for a week for a sick patient nearing end of life.

“Every book sale will count and support our work which can make the difference between a pain-free, peaceful, dignified end of life phase for a patient – or a distressing death,” said Dr Merriman.

Only about 5% of cancer patients in Africa today have access to treatment, and the suffering is unimaginable, making palliative care so important.

HAU, which was set up by Dr Merriman in 1993, was the first organisation to introduce palliative care to Uganda. It makes affordable oral liquid morphine, opened palliative care for those in severe pain in Africa and today is funded through the Government of Uganda for Ugandans. The morphine means severe pain can be controlled, reducing distress for patients.

Oral liquid morphine is now available for all in need in Uganda and the Government has given specially trained nurses the power to prescribe.

“The morphine provides pain relief for patients and helps to stabilize their condition, allowing them to “live until they die,“ says Dr Merriman.

HAU also provides vital training and education in palliative care to doctors, nurses and care workers to degree level every year, so that palliative care services can expand throughout Uganda and Africa.

It is working with other African countries through their International Programmes, to achieve the founding mission to provide palliative care for all in need in Africa.

Dr Eddie Mwbesa, a member of the Chief Executive Team and Clinical Director with HAU, said: “HAU is entirely dependent on the generosity and goodwill of donors to exist. We are facing a funding shortfall of 60 per cent in 2016 and unless this gap is filled, current patients – and patients still not identified – are going to suffer. The only sustainable funding needs to come from within Uganda. Let us remember we and our loved ones may need this service when our time comes.

“We are very grateful to the Irish Hospice Foundation for donating the book and for their wonderful support over many years.”

Irish ambassador to Uganda, Mr Donal Cronin, said he was delighted to host the launch event for Hospice Africa Uganda: “The work of Hospice Africa Uganda is so important. Its dedicated team of staff and volunteers are bringing respite to thousands of people in Uganda who otherwise face a painful and distressing death. It deserves as much support as possible.”

CEO of the Irish Hospice Foundation, Sharon Foley, said the Foundation is thrilled to be in a position to help HAU. The Foundation, which celebrates its 30th birthday this year, strives for better care at end of life for all in Ireland, and has been a strong supporter of HAU since its foundation in 1993.

“Dr Merriman has brought the practice and message of palliative care to Africa and Uganda. We are delighted to be in a position to give these books to help the fundraising efforts of HAU and we hope they sell well. No matter where in the world it is vital to promote palliative care as essential for people facing their final months and days.”

To support HAU and buy the book email

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