Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Uganda was described by Winston Churchill as the 'pearl of Africa' I have only had a short time to explore this beautiful country but I very much hope to be able to spend more time here in the future. Here is sunrise over Lake Victoria. In palliative care history it holds a special place. In 1993 Dr Anne Merriman and her team, with the support of the government, opened Hospice Africa Uganda. This has developed into a model of care that has met the needs of so many here in Uganda but also formed the basis for training and service support across Africa. It is a busy yet welcoming place where you can be sure of excellence in clinical and educational skills, a deep sense of faith, great food from the tiny kitchen and the brightest morphine bottles you have ever seen. This picture shows how simple tools such as used water bottles, mixed with ingenuity and simple morphine powder can provide affordable oral morphine solution to those in pain. 10 days of morphine is equivalent to the cost of a loaf of bread. Patients are seen at the clinic or by one of the outreach teams. There are also 2 linked units and a network of trained community volunteers. This lady has her oral morphine at home - helped by a friend who took her to the clinic, as she had no family suuport. Her cancer pain is now under control. As in India, care can be offered at an affordable cost with the support of trained health care workers, and community support. My thanks to Drs Anne, Lydia and Ita and the rest of the team for their warm welcome and wilingness to share. I have long wanted to visit and was in no way disappointed. It is so useful to Cairdeas and so humbling personnaly to see what you have achieved and to learn of the resouces available - particularly in education. I look forward to being able to stay in touch and possibly work togetherin the future. Off to tandem kayak the source of the Nile!

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