By Staff reporter
American Ambassador to Namibia, Dennise Mathieu and Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Kamwi, will officially open the advocacy workshop for palliative care in Africa this morning at 10h00.
The three-day workshop is to be held at the Safari Court Hotel, it was announced in a press statement.
The workshop will focus on improving access to essential pain medicines to mitigate the suffering of adults and children living with HIV, cancer and other illnesses.
The workshop will bring together experienced palliative care and other health practitioners and policy experts from Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Uganda, Zimbabwe and the United States.
They will bring their collective talents and knowledge to bear on the challenges and barriers that exist to the relief of individual suffering.
The US Government is pleased to provide support for this workshop under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID’s Regional HIV/AIDS Program in Southern Africa.
One of the main responsibilities under the President’s Emergency Plan is to support national efforts to scale-up palliative care programmes – programmes that focus on the physical, counselling and spiritual support for the growing number of people living with HIV and AIDS.
Effective pain management is central to this effort and finding ways to increase safe, responsible access to medicines such as opioids is key.
This workshop is to build on the efforts begun at the palliative care workshop held last year in Entebbe, Uganda and is timely, particularly for Namibia, given the recent, highly productive workshop to develop national standards for community and home-based care.
Namibia was chosen as the site for this regional workshop in recognition of the country’s commitment to and support for effective palliative care for those in need.