On Tuesday, 11 August 2015, KZN MEC for Health Dr Sibongeseni Dhlomo met with Dr Liz Gwyther, CEO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa (HPCA) together with MS Sindi Mthwethwa, dep director of NCD’s and Mrs Zodwa Sithole, HPCA advocacy manager.
The meeting was to discuss the Palliative Care conference to be co-hosted by the Dep Health KZN and HPCA 27-30 September at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban. MEC Dhlomo is passionate about palliative care having qualifications and experience in the discipline himself and recognising the importance of providing good care to people with advanced illness ensuring management of pain & other distressing symptoms. He is determined that palliative care should be integrated into healthcare in KZN. Ms Mthwethwa is also committed to a palliative care strategy for the province and to implementation of this strategy. MEC Dhlomo will be speaking as the opening plenary speaker at the conference which has the theme “Hidden Lives Hidden Patients: Compassion for All” this is the theme of World Hospice Palliative Care Day identified by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance WHPCA, the international organisation chaired by Dr Gwyther. Dr Gwyther is also a member of the World Health Organisation ad-hoc technical advisory committee on palliative care and long term care.
MEC Dhlomo also included the Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi in the meeting by telephone to follow up on the request that the Minister opens the conference on Sunday 27th September depending on the Minister’s international commitments that month. Dr Gwyther was honoured to speak to the Minister to ask his support in establishing a technical working group to Implement the WHO resolution 67.19 “Strengthening palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course.” Minister Motsoaledi invited Dr Gwyther to meet with him and the DG Ms Precious Motsoso to discuss this urgent matter. South Africa will be expected to report on progress towards integration of palliative care into the health system to the WHO executive board in January 2016.