Looking back at a week of celebration at Hospice Africa Uganda

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Marking 20 years of affordable, suitable, and accessible palliative care in Uganda, HAU last week put on a week of celebratory events which included a public presentation on the organisation’s accomplishments, a palliative care research a public lecture, and a business luncheon. The week’s celebrations culminated in a ‘mini-marathon’ in Kampala.

The event was attended by Dr Anne Merriman, the founder of HAU and palliative care in Uganda. The event paid tribute to her dreams, efforts and contribution towards HAU which has touched so many lives and improved the quality of life of many patients throughout Africa.

The week started with a large celebration in the grounds of HAU. The event was well attended and acted as an opportunity for health care professionals to reminisce about the early days of the organization.

Rose Kiwanuka, the first ever palliative care nurse in Uganda who trained at HAU, was at the event. During a short speech she commented on how far palliative care had come thanks to HAU saying: “When I told my colleagues I was going to into palliative care, they said I will kill people. They thought morphine killed people. But when they met the patients at the first Christmas party, they saw what difference palliative care make and that was the start of my advocacy efforts.”

On Tuesday 14 May, the hospice hosted a research day that highlighted some of the latest innovative thinking in palliative care.

Eve Namisango, the research manager at the African Palliative Care Association, won first prize at the event for her abstract submission on HIV patient symptom clusters and patient outcome. Dr Mugisha Noleb and Dr Jane Najawesi picked up second and third place respectively.

The hospice also welcomed Dr Jan Stjernsward as the day’s keynote speaker. Dr Sternsward is credited with establishing the definition of palliative care, developing the WHO pain ladder and for working out strategies and priorities for its successful implementation worldwide.

On Thursday the 16th, the work of the hospice was honoured over a dinner at the Irish Ambassador’s private residence in Kampala. The evening served as an opportunity to bring together partners, friends and colleagues who have supported the hospice in the last 20 years.

The family-orientated mini-marathon- complete with health screening facilities available at the finish line- brought an exciting finish to the week’s celebrations. 

ehospice offers sincere thanks and congratulations to Hospice Africa Uganda on their 20th Anniversary for their pioneering work in palliative care in Africa.

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