International hospice and palliative care organisations have published a fact sheet on Universal Health Coverage and palliative care.
The fact sheet is based on the findings of The Lancet Commission Report on Palliative Care and Pain Relief.
The report estimated that 61.5 million people experience serious health related suffering worldwide, and that an essential package of palliative care can be implemented in low and middle income countries for about $3 per capita.
The fact sheet is an essential tool for national level palliative care advocacy.
Universal Health Coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need, of sufficient quality to be effective, while also ensuring that the use of these services does not expose the user to financial hardship.
An essential package of palliative care should be included within national UHC packages because it:
- alleviates suffering
- is cost effective and affordable, and
- supports those with some of the highest health needs, and those who are particularly vulnerable to catastrophic expenditure on health.
The fact sheet provides key recommendations on how to make this happen, including:
- To promote equitable access, palliative care services must be universally available and free of charge.
- Build public awareness and engagement in palliative care, and strengthen and enable the voice of people, particularly those directly affected by life-limiting conditions, to demand palliative care.
- Pilot and support innovative multi-sectoral programmes to produce the necessary evidence to show how a publicly funded, essential palliative care package can be provided within primary care, and be free at the point of use under UHC.
- Ensure palliative care is part of all training curricula for health and social care professionals and community health workers.
- Build the evidence on what works, the impact of palliative care inclusion in UHC packages, its cost effectiveness and how to measure progress.
- Include patients and families in all activities to achieve palliative care as part of UHC to reflect true and current needs of patients and their families.
You can download the Palliative Care and Universal Health Coverage Fact Sheet from the ICPCN website.