Photo of the church leaders attending a seminar on palliative care in the Diocese of ARU in Democratic Republic of Congo

Boy plays with maze bead table

African Palliative Care Association

The African Palliative Care Association (APCA) believes that palliative care is a human right and that everyone with a life limiting illness has the right to comprehensive palliative care, regardless of where they live.

APCA was established in 2004 to promote and support the development of affordable and culturally appropriate palliative care throughout Africa. APCA’s role is largely facilitative. It does not provide clinical services but supports existing and potential service providers to scale-up palliative care across the continent.

APCA also advocates for African governments to incorporate palliative care into national health strategies; promotes the availability of palliative care drugs; encourages the establishment of palliative care associations; promotes palliative care education and training which is suitable for African nations; and develops and promotes quality standards for palliative care services and training.

True Colours has made a number of grants to APCA since 2005 to support the development of a regional infrastructure for palliative care in Africa. Our grants have supported APCA to run regional workshops on opioid availability; design resources to review opioid availability; support national palliative care associations; map palliative care services; run educational conferences ; and facilitate a number of national advocacy strategies. We also support APCA’s core costs.

The difference palliative care can make to an individual’s life is best expressed by patients themselves. Anne Nakate, a 70-year-old patient of Hospice Africa Uganda says:

“It makes such a difference. Without this care, I feel I might have died long ago. Now I can continue with my daily activities, move around, eat, live life. My life is back.”

While Harriet Kebirungi, a nurse with the same organisation says “you feel for the person who is sick, so you give all you’ve got to that person… Everyone in need should have access to this kind of care… why should anyone be in pain when their life can be made better?”

APCA strives to expand the provision of palliative care so that people, like Anne, across Africa receive the services they need to live a full life. Its work is raising the profile of palliative care at national, regional and international levels, expanding service provision and helping to ensure that there are consistent, high standards of care across the continent.

Further information on APCA can be found here.