NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- African health
experts met in Nairobi on Wednesday to boost the provision of
palliative care to help cope with the rising number of
terminally ill patients.
Cabinet Secretary for Health
James Macharia said the rising number of non-communicable
diseases in the continent has created the need for palliative
“Kenya has already begun to
integrate palliative care in public hospitals across the
country,” Macharia said during the fourth Kenya National
Palliative Care Conference, which brought together some 200
participants from over ten African countries.
Macharia said Kenya is also
planning to integrate palliative care at all levels of care
right down to community level, thus ensuring patients have
access to services closer to their homes.
The health ministry said that
they currently holding talks with the National Treasury with a
view of increasing the budgetary allocation for palliative care.
The CS noted that chronic
diseases like HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardio vascular diseases and
diabetes are a major cause of human suffering.
“This is because they don’t
cause sudden death but are more likely to cause a lot of pain
and emotional suffering, making people to become progressively
ill and debilitated,” he said, adding that these conditions
reduce national productivity by draining away resources.
Macharia added that barriers
that lead to patients presenting late for medical care include
inadequate diagnostic, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, poor
health seeking behavior, poverty as well as the high cost of
care. He noted that palliative care is equally relevant to
tuberculosis and end-stage organ failure.
The CS said that over 10,000
Kenyans seek medical services abroad annually, with the United
Arab Emirates, South Africa and India being the most popular
Zipporah Ali, Executive
Director with Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association
Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) said palliative care
provides the most realistic and humane management of terminal
stages of cancer and other non-communicable diseases.
“Palliative care reduces the
pain and suffering and also improves the quality of life of
patients and their families,” Ali said.
She added that lack of access
to pain relieving drugs is partly due to inadequate training of
clinicians on assessing and managing pain as well as regulatory
The executive director said
that laws aimed at protecting populations from drug dependence
do not always strike the right balance between this legitimate
aim and genuine medical needs, noting that many HIV/Aids and
cancer strategies do not address this adequately.
African Palliative Care
Association (APCA) Executive Director Emmanuel Luyirika said
that love and care underpin the palliative services that provide
holistic care. “It affirms life and regards dying as a normal
process,” he said, adding that palliative care offers spiritual
and psychological support to patients enabling them to live as
actively and symptom free as possible until death.
He noted that the care can be
provided through hospital and home-based care considering that
Africa has a high burden of people living with HIV/AIDS and
Africa urged to set up drug
regulatory bodies to curb counterfeit drugs
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- An international
veterinary body on Saturday urged African governments to set up
effective regulatory bodies in order to prevent use of
counterfeit veterinary drugs.
Global Alliance for Livestock
Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed) Senior Director of Policy and
External Affairs Hameed Nuru told Xinhua on Saturday that this
will ensure that there is adequate registration and quality
control testing of drugs that enter their countries or are
“Many African countries do not
have regulatory agencies and where they do exist, the veterinary
component is weak as most are human drug oriented,” Nuru said in
an email interview.
A study, which was conducted
jointly by the World Organization for Animal Health and GALVmed
in West Africa four years ago, indicates that 67 percent of
veterinary drugs evaluated were either fake or counterfeit.
“In some cases, we found that
the active ingredient was present, but in far less amounts
than stated on the packaging resulting in under dosing while
in other instances the active ingredient was totally absent
from the drug,” he said.
Nuru noted that regional
regulatory bodies will also ensure that a drug registered in one
country can be safely used in another.
He noted that strong
legislation will ensure there is punitive action against those
involved in the illicit veterinary trade. “This can be augmented
by having much better enforcement and compliance checks,” Nuru
GALVmed said the continent
suffers economic losses that run into tens of millions of U.S.
dollars annually as a result of the proliferation of the
counterfeit and substandard drugs.
“The losses come from animals
dying following treatment or vaccination,” he said. The
physical losses in numbers of animals, which shrinks the
national population size translates into loss of country’s
productivity, Nuru said.
“African countries are
therefore forced to import animal products which cost millions
of dollars,” Nuru said. The losses can also contribute to
decreased food security.
“So the farmer suffers a
triple loss, from buying the fake product, being charged for
administration and in the end the animal dies anyway.”
Experts have warned that use of
substandard or counterfeits can lead to the build up of drug
resistance to common livestock diseases. The situation is
further compounded by the lack of modern laboratories to test
According to GALVmed, the drug
manufacturers need to have better ways of policing their
products in order to beat the counterfeiters.
“This can be achieved through
the use of security logos, holograms or other features on the
packaging and vessels which farmers can be made aware of prior
to purchase,” he said.
“This should be complemented by
awareness and sensitization campaigns by government and drug
companies especially in areas where there is a high prevalence
of fake products,” he added.
Nuru noted that demand for
livestock products in Africa is expected to increase in the
coming decades. “This will be fueled by expanding population and
rising middle class,” he said.
The GALVmed director said a
significant proportion is engaged in agriculture and livestock
rearing. “Yet agriculture contributes only 13 percent of the
continent’s Gross Domestic Product,” he said.
The majority of livestock in
the continent is owned by small scale farmers, but there is a
growing number of commercial livestock farmers.
The rapid population has caused
the subdivision of land. This is also reducing the amount of
land available for livestock rearing.
Counterfeit and substandard
drugs also result in the loss of the trust and confidence by the
farmer in veterinary products and the supply chains selling such
“It takes a long time to
rebuild trust and this is where branded products can help in the
fight against counterfeits,” he said.