Policy briefings at the Doha world innovation summit for health 2015: End of life care

Categories: Policy.

A key highlight of the summit has been the policy briefings for reports considered at the previous WISH 2013. These included Antimicrobial resistance, health affairs, Innovations in mental health, Obesity, accountable care, road traffic injury, systems thinking and end-of-life care: from pain to palliation.

The end-of-life policy briefing was hosted by Baroness Ilora Finlay a member of the House of Lords and Professor of Palliative Medicine at Cardiff School of Medicine who emphasized the need to focus on the total pain by addressing the physical, social, spiritual and emotional pain.

She also laid the stage for discussion by the emphasis that morphine kills the pain and not the patient. She stated that palliative care is everyone’s business including physicians, surgeons, paediatricians, oncologists, general practitioners, nurses and allied health professionals who work with palliative care specialists to offer comprehensive care, education and supportive advice to patients with difficult or complex conditions.

Baroness Finlay mentioned that globally only 8% of the countries have access to morphine as an essential element of the health care system and she called for palliative care education and policy.

She said that “the way a person dies, lives on in the memories of those left behind especially children.”

She invited the participants to share progress since the last WISH meeting of 2015. The response from Africa included diverse reports, such as experiential learning as different delegations from various African countries visit peer countries for learning, policy developments on the continent, the ongoing exemplary public-private partnership between Ugandan government and Hospice Africa Uganda initiated with support from Treat the Pain Initiative of the American Cancer Society (formerly GAPRI of the UICC) to ensure local reconstitution of oral morphine and the commitment of a number of governments to integrate palliative care into health system.

Despite the above achievements, it is still obvious from this summit that Africa still has a very long way to go to make palliative care a standard of care in the health systems and to make pain control a routine.

This summit provides a great forum for learning at the highest level within countries and is an important opportunity for palliative care fraternity to share innovation on a regular basis.

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