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Contact Info

Dr. Oloyede Yetunde. M

Head of Department



Palliative care is a philosophy of care that aims to relieve pain and suffering and as well provide support for patients and their families throughout the course of chronic and ultimately fatal illness (such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, stroke, serious diseases of the heart, kidneys, liver) and old age. Palliative care uses a team of experts and volunteers to provide physical, emotional, social and spiritual care for patients until death. It offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until the time of death while providing bereavement support for families. Such care was popularized by Dame Cecily Saunders in 1967 through the Hospice movement which emphasizes relief of pain and suffering in the terminally ill.  Palliative care is just being recognized as an important aspect of health care in Nigeria.

The “Ibadan group” has been in the forefront of pain and palliative care development since 1996 when a group of health professionals vigorously pursued advocacy and government support for opioid availability in Nigeria for pain management and palliative care service and education through the Society for the Study of Pain Nigeria (SSPN).

On the availability of oral morphine in 2005, some members of the group registered the Centre for Palliative Care, Nigeria [CPCN] CAC IT/NO. 19744, a multidisciplinary, non-governmental and not-for-profit organization whose Mission Statement is to provide comprehensive Hospice and Palliative Care services to patients suffering from life-limiting illnesses in Nigeria.  Formal Palliative care services thus commenced in UCH, Ibadan under the leadership of Prof. Olaitan Soyannwo, who at the time was a Consultant in the Department of Anaesthesia, UCH/UI. The model of care contained in Palliative Care was presented at several fora at the University College Hospital, Ibadan during which other care givers were encouraged to refer patients. With increasing referral of patients for Palliative Care, CPCN members visited the Chief Medical Director of the Hospital (at the time), Prof. A. Ilesanmi on the 27th of October, 2004 to discuss possible areas of collaboration.  The outcome of this visit, led to the construction of a Hospice and Palliative Care Center within the Hospital which was commissioned on the 19th of July, 2007. In his address at the commissioning, the then Chairman of the Board of Management, Prof. E.A. Elebute enjoined CPCN to continue the good work as a public-private partnership rather than leave it entirely to the Hospital.  UCH, Ibadan provided staff and resources for the take-off of the unit and appointed Prof. Soyannwo as the Head of Unit.

The Hospice and Palliative Care Department is situated in a serene environment on ample grounds at the Circular Road in the Hospital. The building houses several offices such as Consulting Rooms, Family Conference Room, Administrative Section, Play Room, Seminar room, rest rooms etc.

1.Prof.  Olaitan A Soyannwo2007-2016
2.Prof.  Simbo D. Amanor-Boadu2016-
3.Dr. A. A. OLABUMUYI2020-till date

From February 2008 to date, the department has provided comprehensive and Holistic Palliative care.  As at 2016, 2536 registered adult patients, 993 children facing the challenges of life-limiting illness [especially Cancer and HIV/AIDS] have been enrolled and attended to.  The Day care forum has catered for over 3000 patients and family members while 229 patients who were too ill to attend hospital clinics have been cared for in their respective homes in the Home-Based Care Program. This program is the first of its kind in Nigeria.

The start-up for the home-based care was made possible by a grant from Hospice Africa, UK which provided an 8-seater-bus for the service. This bus has been replaced by a brand new Hyundai 12-seater bus donated by the MBBS Class of ’95 for the service. Follow up advice are also provided for patients through mobile telephone.  The Unit has cared for patients from Oyo State as well as other surrounding states. There have also been patients from other parts of the country that have been attended to by the Department.

Paediatrics Palliative Care

The Centre pioneered a special palliative care programme for children [day care forum] in April 2010 with the help of a “Start off grant” from “True Colors Trust” sourced by CPCN through African Palliative Care Association [APCA]. Dr. Biobele Brown Paediatric Oncologist was one of the coordinators. This enabled the Department to extend palliative care services to children with life-limiting illnesses such as Cancer, HIV/AIDS, Sickle Cell Disease and end stage renal disease. Over 900 children of different ages [both male and female] have been enrolled on the programme. The department also organizes day-care forum for the children every fortnight [Thursday] and during school holiday periods.  It provides recreational facilities, and educational toys. Two qualified teachers employed by the hospital take the children in the academic works using the textbooks provided.  Food items are also provided, while disease symptoms are being managed. The children and their parents are also appropriately counseled. The Hill Top Lions Club financially and morally supports the Paediatric Palliative Care. They host the Children’s Christmas Party and present gifts periodically to the children.

Training and Capacity Building for Nigeria.

The training of UCH staff has been an on-going process as seven consultants; four Medical Officers, seven nursing staff, two pharmacists and a social worker have been trained in places outside Nigeria such as in Uganda and MD Anderson Cancer Centre, USA.

With the support received from the UCH management, individual efforts and support from CPCN, Medical and nursing staff in the Department have been able to acquire postgraduate qualifications [e.g. Certificate, Diploma and Masters] in Palliative Medicine from Institutions outside the country. These include Makerere University, Uganda, Oxford Brookes University, UK and Capetown University, South Africa.  One of the medical officers who has an M.Sc. degree in Palliative Care has commenced residency training in Family Medicine.  These core members of staff are the future trainers for palliative medicine at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels in Nigeria.

The Department [UCH Palliative Care Department] has also assisted other institutions in Nigeria to build capacity for palliative care through training, technical assistance and mentoring programs. Such institutions include University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital [UNTH], Enugu, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, National Hospital, Abuja, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and LAUTECH University teaching Hospital, Oshogbo.

In September 2010, CPCN in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health – National Cancer Control Programme and the UCH Palliative Care Department organized a two-week training for health professionals from seventeen [17] health institutions in 13 states and the 6 geopolitical zones of the country. The special 5-weeks ‘Palliative care initiators course’ developed in Uganda was first hosted outside Uganda in Ibadan by CPCN and UCH Hospice Department in 2013 to further increase capacity for the establishment of more Palliative Care Departments in Nigeria.  Through the program in Ibadan, the Unit also offers placement for clinical attachment for palliative care training for both undergraduate and postgraduate students.  Many have attended from UCH, University of Ibadan [MSc Psychology, Nurse Tutors], Sierra-Leone [nurses], Gambia [doctors and nurses] and Canada [resident doctors].

The UCH Hospice and Palliative Care Department in collaboration with CPCN has made immense contributions to palliative care education, services and research in Nigeria. The Ibadan Palliative Care programme is acknowledged as a leading programme internationally by the African Palliative Care Association, the ‘Treat the Pain’ Initiative of the American Cancer Society and the Federal Ministry of Health of Nigeria.

In addition to the care that has been provided by the Department through the years, several other achievements have been recorded by the Department. These include;

  • Capacity Building for Palliative Care in Nigeria.
  • The first preparation of oral morphine in Nigeria by the Pharmacy Department UCH after training in Palliative care in Uganda.
  • Establishment of Paediatric Palliative Care services
  • Provision of Home Based Care
  • Family counselling
  • Extensive Communication with patients
  • Development of patient information leaflets
  • Continuous advocacy for the propagation of Palliative Care in Nigeria
  • Initiation of community Palliative Care Service

In line with the Hospital’s status as a frontrunner in the field of research, the Department has embarked on several research activities. The publications presented below, represent some of the publications that have resulted from the research activities.

  • Olaitan A. Soyannwo Palliative Care and Public Health, A Perspective from Nigeria Journal of Public Health Policy 2007; 28, 56-58.
  • Olaitan Soyannwo, Pioneering Palliative Care in Ibadan, Nigeria, Hospice Information     Bulletin March, 2007, 10 – 11.
  • Soyannwo O A.  Cancer pain management in developing countries. IASP Pain Clinical Update. Vol. XVII. Issue l; 2009.
  • Jesse Abiodun Otegbayo, Adenike Onibokun, Virginia Ngozi Aikpopo, Olaitan A Soyannwo. Palliative care needs evaluation in untreated patients with hepatocellular carcinoma in Ibadan, Nigeria. Afr J. Haematol. Oncol. 2010: 1(2): 48- 53.
  • NE Omoyeni, OA Soyannwo, O.O. Aikomo and OF Iken. Home based palliative care for adult cancer patients in Ibadan – a three year review. Ecancer Special Issue 2014; 8; 490.
  • T.N. Elumelu, A.A. Abdus‑Salam, A.A. Adenipekun, O.A. Soyanwo.  Pattern of morphine prescription by doctors in a Nigeria tertiary hospital. Nig J ClinPract 2012:  15 (1) 27-29
  • Olayinka A. Eyelade, Ikeoluwa O. Ajayi, Theresa N. Elumelu, Olaitan A. Soyannwo and Oluranti A. Akinyemi. Oral morphine effectiveness in Nigerian patients with advanced cancer. J. Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy. 2012:26; 24 – 29
  • Megan O’Brien, Faith Mwangi-Powell, Isaac F. Adewole, Olaitan Soyannwo, Jacinto Amandua, Elizabeth Ogaja, Mary Okpeseyi, Zipporah Ali, Rose Kiwanuka, Anne Merriman. Improving access to analgesic drugs for patients with cancer in sub – Saharan Africa. Cancer control in Africa Series 5, Lancet Oncol 2013; 14: e176–82
  • T.N. Elumelu, A. Adenipekun, O. Soyannwo, O. Aikomo, S.D. Amanor-Boadu, O.  Ogundalu. Palliative experience in Breast and uterine cervical cancer patients in Ibadan, Nigeria. The Internet J of Pain, Symptom Control and Palliative Care 2013: Vol 10: 1
  • Ike Oluwa Ajayi, Oluwatomi Iken, Richard A Powell, Olaitan Soyannwo, Eve Namisango and faith Nwangi- Powell. Palliative care research in Western Africa. European J of Palliative care 2014: 21 (1) 45 – 47
  • Soyannwo O, Aikomo O, Maboreje O. Palliative care: Supporting adult cancer patients in Ibadan, Nigeria 2.  Journal of Palliative Care and Medicine 2016.
  • HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE SERVICES IN UCH (International Palliative care Network conference 2012 – BEST POSTER FROM AFRICA.
  • PAEDIATRIC PALLIATIVE CARE IN UNIVERSITY COLLEGE HOSPITAL: The Journey so far (International palliative care network conference 2012) – Honourable Mention.
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