Role of palliative care in Universal Health Coverage

Categories: In The Media.

The article opens with the story of Yodit, who is a 50 year old widow living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Yodit is HIV positive and has cervical cancer and is living in a lot of pain. Yodit lives in a single room with her children and sells vegetables to provide for her family. After Yodit’s condition deteriorated she could no longer sell vegetables, which led to her children dropping out of school because she could not pay their fees.

Universal Health Coverage aims for all people to have access to good quality and broad health services without being burdened financially. Palliative Care is an important part of Universal Health Coverage, “it aims to relieve suffering and improve the quality of life for adults and children affected by life threatening and life limiting illness.”

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC), the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) released a report ahead of Universal Health Coverage Day entitled ‘Palliative care and the Global Goal for Health’. The report calls on global civil society governments and UN agencies to insist that palliative care be prioritized as part of new Global Goals. “Palliative care is a key part of Universal Health Coverage and people should be able to access hospice and palliative care services of sufficient quality to be effective, without being pushed into poverty. Governments must create an environment that welcomes citizen advocacy for hospice and palliative care, and people must demand a voice in the local, national, and global discussions and empower themselves to work towards equitable access to palliative care as part of the Global Goal for Health,” said Sharon Baxter who is Advocacy Chair at WHPCA.

Through the help of a hospice service in Yodit’s community, her pain was better managed, she was supported financially and was soon able to return to selling her vegetables to support her children. To read the full article, click here.

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