The Deputy Speaker, Ja­cob Oulanyah has said that pal­lia­tive care is a ne­ces­sity and that should be cap­tured in the bud­get frame­work pa­per. Un­for­tu­nately, he ex­plains that this ser­vice can only be con­sid­ered in the next fi­nal year as it’s too late to add it to the bud­get for FY 2019/​20 which will be passed by the end of this month.

When things are real and they are not cap­tured prop­erly and pre­sented in the right places, they get lost in trans­la­tion. For pur­poses of sus­tain­abil­ity, we need to have a start in a good way. We should pre­pare a pre­lim­i­nary bud­get as pal­lia­tive care, pre­pare what is re­quired for the bud­get and wait for the mo­ment when the bud­get cir­cu­lar call comes out and you sub­mit it.” Oulanyah ad­vised.

Oulanyah gave the ad­vice dur­ing a gath­er­ing on a pe­ti­tion ad­dressed to him by pal­lia­tive care doc­tors on the con­sid­er­a­tion of pal­lia­tive care in the bud­get at Par­lia­ment ear­lier this morn­ing. Dr. Rose Ki­wanuka, Di­rec­tor Pal­lia­tive Care As­so­ci­a­tion of Uganda ex­plained the mean­ing and sig­nif­i­cance of pal­lia­tive care to re­fer to an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary ap­proach to spe­cial­ized med­ical and nurs­ing care for the peo­ple with life-lim­it­ing ill­nesses like can­cer. These ser­vices fo­cus on pro­vid­ing re­lief from the symp­toms, pain, phys­i­cal stress and men­tal stress at any stage of the ill­ness.

Rose said ac­cord­ing to re­ports of the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion and World Pal­lia­tive Al­liance, Uganda as­sumes the first po­si­tion in the pro­vi­sion of pal­lia­tive care in Africa. How­ever, she men­tioned a score of chal­lenges ex­pe­ri­enced in­clud­ing the ab­sence of a stand-alone pol­icy on pal­lia­tive care, in­ad­e­quate num­ber of spe­cial­ists and lim­ited fund­ing for train­ing of in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal spe­cial­ists. She rec­om­mended con­sid­er­a­tion of home-based pal­lia­tive care to save pa­tients from trav­el­ing long dis­tances.

Dr. Em­manuel Luyirika, ED African Pal­lia­tive Care As­so­ci­a­tion men­tioned coun­tries with na­tional poli­cies on pal­lia­tive care in­clud­ing Rwanda that also in­cluded the ser­vices in the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Scheme, Tan­za­nia, Malawi, Zam­bia, and Swazi­land. He also pre­sented copies of frame­works on pal­lia­tive care in­volv­ing the African Union Com­mon Po­si­tion where coun­tries agreed to en­sure ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the ser­vices, the World Health As­sem­bly Res­o­lu­tion passed in 2014, the 2017 World Can­cer Res­o­lu­tion and Ugan­da’s com­mit­ments made in the Po­lit­i­cal De­c­la­ra­tion on Non- Com­mu­ni­ca­ble Dis­eases, 2011.

Joseph Ego­let, a ben­e­fi­ciary of pal­lia­tive care bat­tling with rec­tum can­cer com­mended the doc­tors for the ser­vices and ex­pressed his dis­con­tent­ment on the in­ad­e­quate and costly equip­ment and med­i­cine like mor­phine for pa­tients with ter­mi­nal ill­nesses. He told of his ex­pe­ri­ences from his health con­di­tion where re­quires os­tomy bags for waste dis­posal due to the block­age of his dis­posal sys­tem af­ter his op­er­a­tion. He prayed to the gov­ern­ment to en­sure func­tion­al­ity and avail­abil­ity of the re­quired equip­ment.

The Deputy Speaker com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing con­sid­er­a­tion of the ser­vices ac­knowl­edg­ing their sig­nif­i­cance to Ugan­dans.  “You have my full sup­port, we shall work around this to­gether. What I know very well is push­ing peo­ple to do things, if you arm me with the right tools, we can push moun­tains.” He said.