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IHPCA Academic Programmes

In 2009 the Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (IHPCA), was accredited by the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda as an institution of Higher learning. To date several training programs are conducted including short and long courses. All courses at IHPCA focus on Cancer care, HIV and AIDS and training networking Support Organizations to integrate PC in their activities. Our interest is to create multi disciplinary teams in NGOs/health service providers.

Over time, Hospice Africa Uganda has received funding from different organizations to train and roll-out Palliative care services to local and village communities. In such situations we have used the modular approach to provide in-service trainings for all health workers. These modules include; Pain and symptom assessment and management;-psychosocial cultural and spiritual issues and end of life care as well as Training of Trainers. The trainings aims at building specialist palliative care competencies with in specified HIV and AIDS organizations as well as care for cancer patients.
Target groups are; doctors, clinical officers, registered nurses/midwives, pharmacists and dispensers working in the specified HIV and AIDS organizations and in oncology.

Health Professionals Course (HPC)
This is a 6-day course for doctors, clinical officers, registered nurses/midwives, pharmacists and dispensers. Participants are introduced to a wide range of palliative care topics to equip them with modern methods of pain assessment and management of cancer and HIV and AIDS patients at any stage of the disease, in a resource limited setting. It also aims at improving communication and clinical skills.

Allied professionals course
This is a 5-day course for professionals working alongside health professionals, such as counsellors, social workers, occupational therapists, physio-therapists, teachers and lawyers.
It focuses on the concept and principles of palliative care, communication and basics on clinical pharmacology. The course aims to encourage allied professionals to develop a holistic approach to caring and communicating with cancer and HIV and AIDS patients as well as advocating for palliative care among their colleagues, schools and centres of higher learning.

Spiritual advisors course
This 3-5 day course targets religious leaders of the various denominations, catechists, and any other persons working closely with patients.  It aims at creating awareness of the spiritual and holistic needs of patients with cancer, HIV and AIDS thereby enabling them to gain more confidence in addressing issues of spirituality in an open and accepting manner.

Community volunteers workers course (CVW)
This is a 5-day course for community volunteer workers and people directly caring or associated with caring for sick people in the community. The course equips participants with basic knowledge and skills for holistic care of patients living with cancer and HIV and AIDS and their families. These are trained especially to identify those suffering from severe pain in Uganda where 57% of patients never see a health professional and are dying in their communities without assistance. Hospice then goes down to see them in their homes and brings palliative care, controlling pain and supporting them and the family.

Traditional healers’ course
This is a 2-day course for Traditional Healers. It aims at promoting the interaction, mutual respect and collaboration between traditional health practitioners and biomedical workers in regard to palliative care for patients. Through this course, lessons about herbal remedies are shared for symptom control, and participants are trained on how to identify those patients who need referral.

Palliative care course for initiators in sub-Saharan African countries
Hospice Africa Uganda, International Programmes, has designed a special 5 weeks training course for palliative care service initiators across Africa. The course is composed of an introduction to palliative care concepts, pain and symptoms assessment and management, while sharing experiences from each other’s countries (2 weeks), followed by clinical skills placements, including mobile rounds, in week 3 and 4, then Week 5 is Training of Trainers in palliative care course.

The course is designed to help health professionals to initiate appropriate and culturally suitable palliative care services in their own setting. The clinical placement provides an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills gained in class. During the clinical placement participants will be exposed to different palliative care models used within the 3 hospice sites in Uganda. Participants will also get an opportunity to study how palliative care services are organized within the different settings in Africa and the role of other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and other palliative care implementers in their own country. This Course is designed for qualified Doctors, Registered Nurses/Midwives, Clinical Officers, Pharmacists, and Dispensers. Others may attend after special consideration only. However when starting a new palliative care team we advise that three come, doctor, nurse and pharmacist from the same project. This trio in the past have had the best outcomes on their return to their countries

Diploma in Clinical Palliative Care (DCPC)
A 1 year course based at Hospice, which focuses on trainees gaining supported clinical experience. This Diploma trains Clinical Officers and Nurses in prescribing of morphine and the successful candidates are registered prescribers in Uganda.  It is open to registered and comprehensive nurses and clinical officers with a minimum of 3 years working experience.

The Aim of the Course is:
Initially the course was designed to develop a cadre of specialized health professionals as practitioners to form a critical mass to bridge the gap of inadequate number of palliative care prescribers in Uganda. More recently other countries have asked to join this programme, even though the graduates are not recognized a prescribers by other Governments in Africa yet. The course trains registered nurses/midwives and clinical officers in holistic assessment and management of pain, symptoms, psychosocial and spiritual issues in both cancer and HIV and AIDS patients. They are then considered specialists in palliative care.

The participants are equipped with skills in prescribing oral morphine and other palliative care drugs. The trainees receive practical experience working with the Hospice clinical teams at all the 3 Hospice sites which include urban and rural areas. Trainees conduct placements with other specialist and general palliative care service providers. During the last 2 months, trainees return to their districts. Using the acquired Training of Trainers (TOT) skills, trainees are expected to carry out palliative care services, research project and training sessions (CMEs) to other health professionals while planning their future roles in their home areas. Graduates of this course will be certified prescribers of oral morphine and other palliative care drugs in Uganda. It is recommended that employers of the participants guarantee 2 years working in palliative care after graduation. Otherwise they become deskilled and are lost to the patients in need and the country as a whole.

Distance learning diploma in palliative care
This is a 1 year diploma distance learning programme for health professionals working in Africa. It is accredited by Makerere University. IHPCA trains medical personnel in the care of terminally ill cancer and HIV/AIDS patients. This course enables trainees to integrate palliative care within their own environment and cascade their new knowledge and skills to health professionals, allied professionals and carers. It includes 4 weeks in Uganda at IHPCA for face to face learning.

Bachelor of Science in palliative care
This is a 3 year distance learning Bachelor’s programme culminating in BSc in Palliative Care, accredited  by Makerere University. The course was established and is tenable at IHPCA.

The programme has two entry levels. That is year one level for applicants with ut prior training in palliative care and year two level for applicants with a diploma in Palliative Care. It is specifically designed for health professionals intending to or practicing palliative care in the African setting. The programme is run on a semester system consisting of five semesters and two recess term. Each year includes a 4 week face to face at IHPCA.

Adhoc trainings
IHPCA provides special palliative care trainings for organisations/institutions interested in integrating palliative care into their programme. Interested organisations should submit their Palliative care training requests to Hospice Africa Uganda through IHPCA preferably in September each year. Adhoc training related costs are met by the client organizations. IHPCA provides the trainers.

Individual Placements:
HAU accepts health professionals who are to be leaders in care in their own countries, on individual placements with the clinical team and IHPCA. These are designed for the person with their own country specifically in mind, usually arranged through International Programmes.
Other opportunities

Resource Centers:
HAU provides, invaluable palliative care resource materials such as text books, journals and Information Education and Communication (IEC) materials in all the 3 sites (Kampala, Mbarara and Hoima). The resource centre is open to those working in palliative care.
Those books developed at HAU are for sale when available, and include the Blue Book (pocket book for palliative medicine in Uganda and other African countries in English and French), Freedom from Pain, Audacity to Love (the story of Hospice Africa), manuals for training programmes.

Table of courses




Iinternational Programmes

Palliative Care Initiators Course

5 weeks


Palliative Care Initiators Course for Francophone countries

5 weeks


Diploma in Clinical Palliative Care

1 year


Distance Learning Programmes

Bachelor of Science in Palliative Care  (Affiliated to College of Health Sciences Makerere University)

3 years

$ 5400.00 pa

Diploma in Palliative Care (College of Health Sciences Makerere University)

1 year

$ 5400.00 pa

Short Courses

Allied Professionals Course

5 days


Spiritual Advisors Course

5 days


Community Volunteer Workers Course

5 days


Health Professionals Course in Palliative care

6 days


Traditional Healers course in Palliative care

5 days


TOT for trained Health professionals

5 days


Training in Pain Assessment and Management

2 weeks



For further information contact:
The Academic Registrar,
Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care in Africa,
Hospice Africa Uganda,
P.O. Box 7757, Kampala, Uganda.
Physical address: Plot 130, Makindye Road, Kampala

Tel    :     +256 414 266867/510089/, + 256 392 766867;
Mobile:     +256 704161129
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Last modified on Saturday, 26 October 2013 12:33

Audacity to Love

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