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Conference Report

United against cancer: prevention to end-of-life care—highlights from the Uganda Cancer Institute–Palliative Care Association of Uganda Joint International Conference on Cancer and Palliative Care and the 7th Palliative Care Conference, 24–25 August 2017, Kampala, Uganda

14 Dec 2017
Julia Downing, Henry Ddungu, Fatia Kiyange, Mwazi Batuli, James Kafeero, Harriet Kebirungi, Rose Kiwanuka, Noleb Mugisha, Eddie Mwebesa, Mark Mwesiga, Elizabeth Namukwaya, Nixon Niyonzima, Warren Phipps, Jackson Orem

The Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) and the Palliative Care Association of Uganda (PCAU) jointly hosted an international conference on cancer and palliative care in August 2017 in Kampala, Uganda. At the heart of the conference rested a common commitment to see patient care improved across Uganda and the region. The theme – United Against Cancer: Prevention to End-of-Life Care – reflected this joint vision and the drive to remember that cancer care should include prevention, early diagnosis and screening, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. The conference brought together 451 delegates from 17 countries. The key themes of the conference included: the importance of the World Health Assembly Resolutions on Palliative Care (2014) and cancer care (2017); the need to develop a National Cancer Control Programme; strategies for effective cancer diagnosis and treatment in low- and middle-income countries; advocacy, human rights and access to essential medicines, including access to opioids and nurse prescribing; paediatric care; leadership and commitment; collaboration; resources (financial and human), the recognition that palliative care is not limited to cancer care and the importance of learning from each other. The conference also gave the opportunity to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the UCI, with a celebration dinner attended by the Minister of Health and the US Ambassador. Participants reported that the conference was a forum that updated them in all aspects of cancer and palliative care, which challenged their knowledge, and was enlightening in terms of current treatment options for individuals with cancer. The benefits of having a joint conference were recognised, allowing for further networking between cancer and palliative care organisations. This conference, highlighting many developments in cancer and palliative care, served as a unique opportunity to bring people together and unite them in developing cancer and palliative care.

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