Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa); Population Health (East Africa)


Background: Palliative care (PC) can reduce symptom distress and improve quality of life for patients and their families experiencing life-threatening illness. While the need for PC in Kenya is high, PC service delivery and research is limited. Qualitative research is needed to explore potential areas for PC research and support needed to enable that research. This insight is critical for informing a national PC research agenda and mobilizing limited resources for conducting rigorous PC research in Kenya.

Objectives: To explore perceptions of priority areas for PC research and support needed to facilitate rigorous research from the perspective of Kenyan PC providers and leaders.

Methods: Focus groups (FGs) were conducted in November and December of 2018 using a semi-structured interview guide. FGs were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using a thematic content analysis approach.

Results: Three FGs were conducted (n = 22 participants). Ten themes related to PC research emerged, including research on: 1) beliefs about death, disease, and treatment to inform PC; 2) awareness about PC, 3) integration of PC within the health system; 4) understanding caregiver experiences and needs; 5) community health volunteers (CHVs) and volunteer programs; 6) evaluation of costs and benefits of PC; 7) treatment approaches, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and advanced diagnostics at end of life; 8) other suggestions for research, 9) populations in need of PC research; and 10) resources for enabling research.

Conclusions: Kenyan PC providers and leaders identified key areas requiring increased scientific inquiry and critical resources needed to enable this research. These findings can help to focus future PC research in Kenya and encourage funding agencies to prioritize the issues identified.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMC Palliative Care


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.