Blog: EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Dr Mhoira Leng
12th June 2017

The EAPC World Congress 18th to 20th May in Madrid was a great event encompassing cutting edge education and research, networking, social interaction, meeting and renewing colleagues and friends, presenting our work and being inspired. It was so good that Dr Jack Turyahikayo was awarded an IAHPC Travelling Fellowship to attend and he shares more below...along with Dr Lucy Robinson who volunteered with us last year. We were presenting work which included a reveiw of our research capacity and I will write more of this in another blog.   

All our posters and presentatons will be in our website folder under EAPC. We were very honoured to accept an award for Leadership led by Julia Downing and with Liz Grant which and recognised the amazing Leadership Fellowship for Nurses completed recently with the University of Edinburgh, Makerere University and PCAU. Great to also see one of our Cairdeas Trustees ; Hamilton Inbadas and see Dr Lungagowda from Kidwai in Banaglore accept a pprze. So good to share with our Malawi friends (Jane Bates) and Sudanese (led by Dr Nahla Gafer). We shared in the launch of the Atlas for Palliative Care in the Middle East and Africa; again these will be available in our Resources section very soon. It was so good to see the interest in refugee and migrant health and many many new ideas going forward.

Jack says: 'The EAPC congress 2017 will always remain such a memorable one for me. This was the biggest congress that I have attended with over 2000 participants from various countries. Presenting work on “Outcomes of care among patients referred for specialist palliative care in Mulago hospital” allowed me interact, share knowledge and practices with the greatest researchers in palliative care. I enjoyed the numerous poster and oral presentations which immensely positively impacted my research knowledge and skills. Many palliative care researchers were pleased with the work presented and stimulated ideas to better my PhD research that I intend to undertake. I was inspired to have more impressive work at the next EAPC congress in Berlin. It was such a pleasure that as a team, three of our posters presented emerged among the best in the various categories.

Touring Madrid City showed me the wonders of living in Madrid. The late dinning night life with thousands of people walking and touring was such an interesting experience for me. The Santiago Bernabeu stadium that I have always watched on TV has an amazing history in club football. It was joyous to visit this stadium seeing several trophies and accolades won by the greatest soccer players in club football. I also posed and lifted the most recent Champions league trophy won by Real Madrid. I particularly enjoyed Spanish food served as Tapas. The sea foods including squid, prawns, octopus and cray fish are all tasty dishes that left me mesmerized and wondering if I could find similar dishes back in Uganda.  

Barcelona city was such a lovely and memorable experience for me too. The amazing architectural designs of the buildings were such a wonder to see. The Basilica Sagrada Familia by Gaudi marked by artistic sculptures of the Holy Family was the most beautiful cathedral I have seen. Park Guell overlying Barcelona city allows for an awesome view of most of the city. There was also a lot to learn about Gaudi`s work from this same place. The long walk along the La Rambla Street viewing many touristic places and spending time at the Barcelona beach was historical for me. I will always treasure these moments.

I also spent time at the University of Barcelona and learnt so much about its history. Visiting the Institute Catalagia Oncologia(ICO) that provides cancer care allowed me witness firsthand how patients with cancer are managed. I was able to see how chemotherapy is reconstituted and packaged by two robots supported by pharmacy technicians. I visited the palliative care team in this hospital which provides highly specialized services to patients and was pleased to see how it efficiently provides care to over 1000 patients a year. I easily appreciated the different contexts in which we all provide the much needed care to our patients.

I appreciate everyone who made it possible for me to have such a wonderful and unforgettable experience at the EAPC congress in Spain. Special mention goes to Dr Mhoira Leng who ensured that my stay in Spain was historical. I pray that God continues to provide the resources needed to thrust palliative care forward.'

Lucy adds her perspective: 'I am a doctor from the UK who volunteered with Cairdeas last summer at Makerere Palliative Care Unit (MPCU) in Kampala, Uganda. It was a challenging but enriching experience for myself and my partner John to give up our comfortable lives in Newcastle and travel to Africa. It really changed the way we look at life and work and we had some great experiences that we will remember for ever and met many inspiring people.

As part of this placement, myself and another volunteer, Dr Bex Cordner, undertook a project into research capacity building with the expert supervision and guidance of Dr Mhoira Leng, the Medical Director of Cairdeas, and her colleagues Dr Liz Namukwaya, Professor Scott Murray, Dr Liz Grant and Professor Julia Downing. Since MPCU was founded they have included research and evidence based practice as a core part of their academic Palliative Care Unit and have promoted a culture of research where everyone, from doctors to volunteers are encouraged to take part. This research provides evidence with which to deliver high quality Palliative Care in this setting and also helps the Unit to both achieve its strategic plan and measure its outcomes.

Our project, which I presented at EAPC in Madrid aimed to evaluate and measure the outcomes of this research culture and research capacity building through training. The study showed excellent results, with a large number of MPCU abstracts being presented at national and international conferences and positive outcomes from the research training delivered by MPCU.

The rest of the conference was incredibly interesting with a large amount of high quality studies into different aspects of Palliative Care being presented. It was a privilege to learn from these presentations and meet some of the people who are carrying out this important work. I found myself considering in more detail aspects of palliative care which I had not before, such as compassionate communities, managing frailty as part of palliative care and the health economics of this specialty.

Madrid itself was beautiful and Mhoira, Jack, Nasur (from Hospice Africa Uganda) and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon, after the conference, exploring. We marvelled at the stunning architecture, ordered way too many churros and accidentally joined a Spanish political demonstration!'

Many thanks to Cairdeas , IAHPC and THET for the financial support to allow us to attend and to all our wonderful colleagues who shared, inspired, laughed...but above all work for the development of palliative care, the relief of needless suffering and narrowing the health  care inequity gap.


EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Warm welcome to EAPC 2017

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid


EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Hamilton and our Indian colleagues with the prize winner Dr Lingagowda

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

African colleagues as the African Atlas is launched

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Jack presenting his poster

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Jack discovering seafood

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Lucy presenting our work

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Lucy and Jack and their proud mentor

EAPC 2017 conference…..summer in Madrid

Beauty in Sagrada Familia with Jack, Nahla and our Sudanese friends