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Nigeria needs more hospices, palliative centres, says HPCAN

By Abiodun Fagbemi, Ilorin |   15 October 2015   |   3:55 am  

Credit: Lance Hayashida/Caltec

THE Chairman of Kwara state zone of Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Nigeria, (HPCAN), Dr Israel Kolawole, has canvassed prompt introduction of palliative care in the curriculum of Nigerian medical institutions.

Kolawole, at this year World Hospice and Palliative Care Day Celebrations in Ilorin, said Nigeria could not afford to be a pharia nation among the comity of nations that were signatories to the compulsory need for the introduction of palliative care in their nation’s health care system.

Palliative care is the care of patients with active, progressives, far-advanced disease with a limited life expectancy. It is a vital component of the basic essential services within the Universal Health Coverage as defined by the World Health Organisation, (WHO). Only six tertiary hospitals have the services at present in Nigeria.

According to Kolawole, while speaking on the theme for the celebration, ‘Hidden Lives/Hidden Patients’, “universal access to palliative care is a fundamental requirement to achieve this global goal for those facing serious illness. Barriers to accessing palliative care must be removed in Nigerian health sector as it had been done in some countries of the world. About 1.7 Nigerians are at present in need of Palliative care.

“The worst hit patients are usually the vulnerable and under represented people and communities living in unique conditions and who often struggle with access to palliative care. They include; children, HIV patients, prisoners, soldiers and those living in rural settings. “

Noting that it was part of the responsibilities of the government and well endowed Nigerians not only to promote “quality in life dignity in death and support in bereavement”,the local HPCAN leader, said palliative approach should be urgently allowed in the curriculum of Nigerian medical institutions.

He added, “everyone involved in hospice and palliative care and indeed all who share the ideals and philosophy of it should be involved in the efforts to improve awareness of the need for palliative care, to consider the hidden patients and how to reach out to them and help them access the care they need.

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