The Global Partners in Care (GPIC) partnership between Center for Hospice Care (CHC) and Uganda’s national association, Palliative Care Association Of Uganda (PCAU), has flourished over the past twelve years resulting in the expansion of palliative care services from 34 to 96 (out of 121) districts in the country. The partnership has supported the education of 68 palliative care nurses and clinical officers, has funded school fees for orphaned child caregivers, and conducted collaborative research with faculty and students from the University of Notre Dame.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership has pivoted its focus to the growing and rapidly changing challenges faced by palliative care providers in Uganda. Like many countries, Uganda has taken careful preventive measures in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 among its citizens. The government of Uganda has implemented many closures and stay at home orders in addition to curfews and travel restrictions. They too face a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but they also face areas where clean water for hand washing is not ubiquitous, they have shortages in health workers, and a weaker healthcare system overall.
PCAU continues to work hard to ensure that hospice and palliative care organizations across the country are prepared and supported during this pandemic. With an emergency grant from CHC, they are facilitating communication and distributing public health messaging, working to secure PPE for hospice and palliative care providers, supporting the child caregivers while schools are closed—all while working remotely using laptops, airtime and data provided by CHC.
While there is still much to do to bring palliative care to a country of 41 million with a stretched healthcare infrastructure, PCAU and CHC will continue to work together through this current crisis and for years to come as they support PCAU’s vision of “Palliative care for all in need in Uganda.”