Speaking ahead of the AGM of Hospice Africa Ireland (HAI), which is a support organisation for Hospice Africa and Hospice Africa Uganda, Dr Anne Merriman said that €600,000 a year is needed to serve the 2000+ patients in need of palliative care.
Hospice Africa Uganda was founded by Dr Merriman who was born in Liverpool to Irish parents and did her medical training in UCD in the 1960’s. Dr Merriman is credited with developing hospice and end of life care across Africa, introducing affordable oral morphine utterly transforming end of life care for cancer patients.
To date, 60 per cent of Hospice Africa Uganda’s funding came from USAID, but due to a policy change the funding will be withdrawn completely in September.
Dr Merriman said, “The reality today is cancers and non-communicable diseases are increasing throughout Africa, and in Uganda there has been an increase in HIV prevalence in the last two years from 6% to 7.2%. 57% of patients, in Uganda, never reach a health worker and less than 5% of cancer patients reach oncology or curative services. Today 300,000 people are in urgent need of palliative care in Uganda, many with far-advanced tumours for whom palliative care is the only realistic option. We and those we have trained are reaching 10% of those in need.”
“The gap is €600,000 a year to serve the 2000+ patients which is about €250 per patient per year or €25 a month.”
She said it is difficult to raise funds needed in Uganda to cope with the growing volume of patients needing care and is seeking support from Ireland. She acknowledged the support of the Irish Hospice Foundation also Irish Aid to date and is hoping the generous spirit of the Irish will shine through for the people of Africa.
Visit the Hospice Africa Uganda website to donate now.