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Palliative Care Unit

Brief History

The Palliative Care Unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital is the only palliative care service available in South-South Nigeria. The Palliative Care Unit started providing services in June 2011 and it is a registered member of the Hospice and Palliative care association of Nigeria (HPCAN). The starting up of the unit was mid-waived by Prof Christie Mato who was then the Chairman Medical Advisory Committee. In October 2012, a sensitization/training workshop was held in UPTH for the hospital community and the team members which was facilitated by the team from Ibadan led by Prof O. A. Soyanwo. Palliative care services commenced immediately afterward in the hospital. The first patient that was seen by the unit in November 2012 had advanced cancer of the breast.  Home visit and end of life care/support were provided for her and some family members. So far the unit has attended to many patients.

The management of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital has been very supportive of this fledgling unit and in January 2013, four members of the team (2 nurses, 1 pharmacist, and 1 doctor) received five-week intensive training organized by Hospice African Uganda in collaboration with palliative care department UCH at Ibadan.  Later Hospice African Uganda graciously accepted for 3 senior members of the team (Prof Christie Mato, Dr. Ndukwu Geraldine, and Mrs. Gbosi Peggy) to undertake a 2-week intensive study tour/training at their international institute at Kampala Uganda.  Presently, the Palliative care unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital is located within the nuclear medicine complex.

Objectives

  • To journey alongside those patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families.
  • To improve the quality of life of patients with life-threatening illness and their families
  • To prevent and relieve suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems.
  • To help alleviate psychological symptoms such as worries, fear, sadness, anger etc
  • To intervene where there are social symptoms such as family support, issues of work, food, housing, and relationships.
  • To offer help with spiritual issues example, the question of the meaning of life and death, the need to be at peace
  • To help with end of life issues such as will writing etc
  • To offer bereavement support to the family of the patient.

Care is given using a team approach; the palliative care unit addresses the needs of patients and their families as they develop, from the time of initial diagnosis through the stages of the illness until the end of life.
The head of the Palliative care unit is Dr. Ndukwu Geraldine.

Staff Strength

  1. Prof Mato, Christie
  2. Dr. Ndukwu G.U – COORDINATOR (Family Physician)
  3. Dr. Eke G (Paediatrician)
  4. Dr. Olamuyiwa T.E (Family Physician)
  5. Dr. Agbaje Biodun (NYSC Corps Doctor)
  6. Dr. Biyi-Olutude O (Oncologist)
  7. Matron Ubong Mary-Catherine
  8. Matron Diepiri B.B
  9. Mr. Opoto W. (Pharmacist)
  10. Mrs. Stella Derri (Social worker)
  11. Mrs. Wakama Atie
  12. Rev. Agi M.
  13. Volunteers 

For more details on the scope of work see UPTH Service Charter.
For Protocol of service; see UPTH Service Charter.

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