Rwanda hosts the 6th International African Palliative Care Conference

The 6th International African Palliative Care Conference, co-hosted by the Ministry of Health and the African Palliative   Care Association, kicked off yesterday in Kigali City/ Rwanda and will run from 18th-20th September 2019.

The 6th International African Palliative Care Conference themed as “Palliative care and Universal Health Coverage” brings together more than 400 participants including Ministers of health from some African countries, researchers, clinicians, palliative care programme managers and practitioners, religious leaders, from across the World.

Palliative care addresses the pain and suffering associated serious chronic diseases, thorough the disease trajectory from the point of diagnosis through end of life care, for those who succumb to these conditions.

While officially opening the 6th International African Palliative Care Conference, the Minister of Health, Dr, Diane Gashumba welcomed the participants to Rwanda and called upon them to cater for all including the marginalized and the vulnerable people in terms of palliative care.

“This is an opportune moment to reflect on fulfilling the UHC principles of ‘leaving no one behind’ including those facing adversity that comes with serious life limiting and life-threatening illnesses.” Said Dr. Gashumba

While addressing the august assembly, the General Director of Rwanda Biomedical Centre, Dr. Sabin Nsanzimana highlighted Rwanda's progress on palliative care. These include provision of basic and advanced Palliative care and Pain medication at Referrals, Provincial , and district Hospitals, Health Centers with at least 2 Nurses trained in Palliative Care, Home based care providers offering palliative care services in more than 100 cells, Local production of Morphine at Labophar , to mention but a few.

 Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association, Dr. Emmanuel Luyirika emphasizes the solution to the high cost of management of chronic illnesses.

“The UHC is best placed to ensure that all those who need palliative care in Africa are able to access it without experiencing financial hardships.”

Dr. Akiba Solange, the Deputy Director General of Rwanda Social Security Board highlighted that community based insurance is one of the Government’s strategies towards Universal Social Coverage of Rwandans.

Each year an estimated 40 Million people are in need of palliative care and only about 14% currently receive it. Majority who need this service (78%) live in low and middle income countries.