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Improving access to palliative care for patients with cancer in Africa: 25 years of Hospice Africa

25 Jul 2019
Anne Merriman, Eddie Mwebesa, Ludo Zirimenya

All cancer care must target the needs of the whole population, not just the few who reach curative services. This paper will refer to palliative care in Uganda and in the countries now aware of the need for palliative care. Human Rights Watch has declared that doctors who are aware that we can control cancer pain and are not doing it or taking steps to
make it happen, are considered to be torturers (Human Rights Watch (2009) Please, do not make us suffer any more... Accessed 11 July 2019).

As Uganda celebrates 25 years since the introduction of palliative care, is it now time to harvest the principles that have been applied in policies and services from the Government of Uganda? This has brought Uganda to the same level as the developed world as stage 4b palliative care (PC) services [1]. These policies and services need to be promoted to
caring governments in Africa, and suitably adapted to the needs of each African country, with a plan for them to progress over the next 5 years. These steps will ensure standards, economic viability and cultural appropriateness.

Let palliative care reach at least 50% of cancer patients in need in Africa by 2023.

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