Include palliative care in UN Sustainable Development Goals

Categories: Policy.

The Declaration calls on the United Nations to include palliative care in the new Sustainable Development Goals for 2015-2030.

WHO and WHPCA estimate that, worldwide, some 20 million people need end-of-life palliative-care services each year, and just as many people are believed to need palliative care in the year before death, giving an annual total of about 40 million people. It is estimated that of the 20 million people needing palliative care at the end of their life, around 80% live in low- and middle-income countries; some 67% are elderly (more than 60 years of age), whereas about 6% are children. These statistics do not take into account those who need palliative care throughout the life course.

In cases of severe pain, failure to provide palliative care and pain relief has been reported as constituting cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines includes a list of medicines needed to treat the most common symptoms in palliative care, including pain.

The UN the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights had included palliation as part of the right to health, and palliative care has been recognised by the WHO through the resolution:Strengthening of palliative care as a component of integrated treatment throughout the life course.

Sharon Baxter, chair of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance advocacy group said: “It is disappointing to hear that the UN Sustainable Development Goals have not included Hospice Palliative Care, and it is terrific that the delegates at the International Congress of Palliative Care have responded with this strong call to action. Now the real work begins to ensure that this essential aspect of care is included, as it should be, in the Sustainable Development Goals for health.”

Sign the petition online on the website of the 20th International Congress on Palliative Care