July 1, 2020
Palliative care is an important component of health care in pandemics. This contributes to symptom control, psychological support, spiritual care, supporting triage, and complex decision making. The current COVID-19 outbreak is taking its toll on healthcare systems globally. Despite some progress, palliative care still does not receive enough attention in humanitarian response leading to unnecessary suffering to both the patient and their families. Governments and other policymakers need to urgently incorporate palliative care into existing frameworks including COVID-19 management guidelines and policies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has witnessed and experienced a lot of suffering. Persons with palliative care needs have uncontrolled symptoms, some of those who have been affected by the virus have died in isolation, a situation that runs counter to the ethical belief that people have the right to a dignified death. The spread of Coronavirus in Kenya is adversely affecting people who need palliative care the most, in particular cancer patients. At the moment, there are over 6,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout Kenya and counting. With the world competing for the same resources, we have had a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) in Kenya. This has affected access to palliative care services, a survey undertaken by Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) revealed that service providers have scaled down their services due to limited supply of PPEs. KEHPCA https://kehpca.org/ with support from The True Colours Trust http://www.truecolourstrust.org.uk/ have come together to help in easing this burden by supplying palliative care providers throughout the country with essential PPEs. “We have endeavoured to ensure that palliative care providers in different palliative care units and hospices in the country have received adequate and high-quality PPEs, this will ensure existing palliative care patients and COVID-19 patients in need of palliative care have access to services” Dr. Ziporah Ali – Executive Director – KEHPCA. With the increasing infections of COVID-19 in the Kenyan counties, many medical facilities have been bracing themselves for the worst-case scenario should the virus spread get out of control. The equipment could not have come at a better time than now. Palliative care providers all over Kenya have expressed their gratitude after receiving their packages. In Meru County hospice they expressed their gratitude by saying, “We have just received PPEs from KEHPCA. On behalf of the Founder/Director, staff, and Board of Management, Meru Hospice appreciates all the support from KEHPCA. You have always remained a strong pillar and a shoulder to lean on. God bless KEHPCA.” “We have received PPEs from KEHPCA. On behalf of the patients, staff, and Board of Directors, Nyeri hospice appreciates all the support from KEHPCA.” We believe in supporting palliative care providers and the patients are at the heart of what we do. We seek to add life to their days instead of adding days to their life. This has been made possible with support from our partners and donors. We would like to send a huge shout out to The True Colours Trust and Global Partners in Care https://globalpartnersincare.org/ as we mentioned earlier, without their support this would not have been made possible. Here are more testimonials from some of the hospices that benefited from the donations of PPEs. “Longisa County referral hospital Administrator and palliative care team receiving PPEs donation from KEHPCA today. We are really grateful for this. Thanks so much, the entire team of KEHPCA under the leadership of Dr. Zippy. May God always enlarge your borders. We appreciate it.” “Thank you very much KEPHCA for the very much needed items. Here receiving is our Patron Hon. Norman Nyagah and our palliative care nurse Peninnah. Thank you on behalf of our patients. Embu – Mbeere hospice.” “Bungoma County referral hospital is thankful. God bless KEHPCA. Bungoma county referral hospital received PPEs from KEHPCA, it’s a blessing. Pictured above; hospital matron, medical Superintendent, and I (Abigael).” “The International Cancer Institute (ICI) team receiving PPEs from KEHPCA. Thanks, Dr. Zippy, and the team for this generous donation.” Living Room International/Kimbilio Hospice would like to express our deep gratitude to KEHPCA for the PPEs. God bless you.