Recently the Kenya Hospice and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) staff visited a number of palliative care units in Kenya to follow up the progression of integration of palliative care.

22 Oct 2016

Isiolo County Referral Hospital

Travelling 5km in pain can be a task that majority of us cannot handle and yet some patients travel over 100 km in severe pain to Isiolo County Referral Hospital just to be referred to Meru hospice, more than 50 Kms away. The Meru hospice provides out-patient care to patients and families faced by life threatening illnesses.

Isiolo Hospital has 4 trained nurses in the palliative care unit with Amina being the Head of the unit. They receive support from Meru hospice who is their mentor in palliative care. They also receive oral morphine from Meru, that is only administered to the patients they refer to Meru hospice, thus patients have to share the little morphine.


The trained nurses are providing Palliative Care services on their own initiative as they have other assigned duties, making it difficult to be consistent in care. The hospital is also facing numerous challenges especially staffing, limited awareness regarding palliative care, space to coordinate and provide palliative care services and lack of some essential medicines including morphine.

KEHPCA continues to support the palliative care unit in Isiolo by training, sensitization and advocating for integration of services and availability of essential medications including opioids especially morphine. The Hospital administration is willing to support this initiative.  Despite the challenges faced, the hospital has been working closely with other partners to conduct free cancer screening due to statistics showing that 2 out of 10 women are likely to have symptoms suggesting they have cervical cancer. Whenever the suggestive cases are identified, they are counseled and referred for further investigations. Cancer cases have been on the rise in Isiolo County hence a fully functional palliative care unit will greatly improve the patients’ quality of life.

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