Documentary Film Offers Powerful Glimpse into the Desperate Need for Palliative Care in Uganda, and the Champions Who Strive to Provide Care

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A special screening will be held on Thursday for an important new documentary film that sheds light on the need for palliative care services in Uganda at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization’s Management and Leadership Conference in National Harbor, MD.

This film is a beautiful and moving demonstration of their commitment and the impact they are having throughout their country,

The meaning of the word “okuyamba” in Lugandan, a language spoken in Uganda, is “help,” making it an appropriate title for the film, which was created by The Center for Hospice Care in South Bend, Indiana with the University of Notre Dame Film School, about a common mission shared by a group of palliative care nurses in Uganda.

The Center for Hospice Care is the U.S. partner for the Palliative Care Association of Uganda through FHSSA’s partnership program. An affiliate of NHPCO, FHSSA, originally known as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, focuses on pairing U.S. hospice programs with hospice and palliative care organizations in Africa to promote mutual sharing and enhance access to palliative care services.

Okuymaba,” is an extraordinary film that follows Rose Kiwanuka, the county’s first palliative care nurse and national coordinator for the Palliative Care Association of Uganda as she travels throughout the country training, supporting and encouraging the nation’s 120 palliative care professionals. “The high incidence of HIV/AIDS and cancer, coupled with limited to no access to adequate pain control in Uganda make the work of this group of nurses so critical. This film is a beautiful and moving demonstration of their commitment and the impact they are having throughout their country,” said John Mastrojohn, executive director of FHSSA.

The film offers viewers a glimpse into the harsh realities of living in small, poverty-stricken East African country where the majority go a lifetime without seeing a doctor. As the film’s website describes, “from the training of traditional healers in the Buyija Forest to that of nurses and clinical officers at Hospice Africa Uganda, the film explains the interrelationships between traditional and western medicine as well as the manner in which they complement one another in the identification and care of dying patients.”


The screening will be held on Thursday, March 29 at 3:40 p.m. in Potomac 5/6 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Reporters interested in attending the screening should present their credentials at the registration desk for the conference.

The makers of the film, along with FHSSA, will be coordinating efforts to help hospices across the US plan local screenings of “Okuyamba.” For more information on planning a screening, contact Sarah Meltzer at (703) 837-3149 or smeltzer(at)nationalhospicefoundation(dot)org.

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