Staff from Center for Hospice Care (CHC) and the Hospice Foundation (HF) were part of the International Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care in Kampala, Uganda on September 5-6. More than 300 attendees from 13 countries shared innovative, evidence-based research and projects as well as best practices to improve cancer and palliative care throughout the region. This is the second time the conference has been held jointly by the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) and the Uganda Cancer Institute.
During the conference, CHC was recognized as a key partner in the development of palliative care in Uganda over the past 10 years. On behalf of CHC, Mike Wargo, HF chief operating officer, accepted the award for “outstanding contributions through funding PCAU to extend palliative care services throughout Uganda” from Uganda’s Minister of Health, The Honorable Dr. Jane Ruth Aceng.
Several CHC and HF staff participated in the conference. Kristiana Donahue, CHC volunteer training and recruitment coordinator, presented a session entitled “Volunteer Program Essentials.” Annette Deguch, CHC bereavement counselor, gave an interactive session on “Yoga and Mindfulness: A more holistic palliative care approach.” Both were well received.
Lacey Ahern, HF international program manager, moderated a workshop on digital health and palliative care with an official from the Uganda Ministry of Health. The HF has been working with PCAU on a digital health/mHealth palliative care surveillance project to Celebrating Ten Years of Partnership and Palliative Care Progress in Uganda improve the evidence base for palliative care programming and policy. Denis Kidde, HF international program coordinator, co-chaired a breakout session on service delivery and was part of the overall conference organizing committee, while Wargo co-chaired a session about collaborative partnership with PCAU Country Director Rose Kiwanuka.
The conference was part of an exchange visit for CHC and HF staff to Uganda. While in Uganda, CHC and HF personnel also spent time with PCAU staff on several of the joint projects the partnership supports. The team visited children on Road to Hope program, which supports education for orphaned child caregivers, and also visited some PCAU member organizations who provide direct care in the community. They also held meetings with key stakeholders in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports and at Mulago School of Nursing and Midwifery, where a new palliative care training program for nurses was launched by PCAU – with support from the partnership – earlier this year.
These visits are very important learning and sharing opportunities and help deepen the partnership. Connecting in person is vital to building strong relationships, and they offer CHC staff a way to be more directly involved in the partnership.