Deputy Minister of Health, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, was one of the guests at an international conference on palliative care - care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have serious or life-threatening diseases - that took place at UCT in early December last year. The conference, titled Palliative Care - Mind, Body, Spirit, was hosted by the Hospice Palliative Care Association and attended by some 400 delegates from Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the US and the UK. Covered were a broad spectrum of topics, including clinical palliative care (pain and symptom control), the management of problems associated with stage three and four HIV/AIDS, paediatric palliative care, and the ethics of end-of-life care. Choosing UCT as a venue was something of a no-brainer. The university's medical school currently offers the only postgraduate degree in palliative medicine in Africa. A number of graduates and current students attended and contributed to the conference programme.
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