Established in 1996, the MECC is a partnership between the United States and the ministries of health of Cyprus, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey.
The conference, which ran from 9- 13 February 2013, was preceded by a number of capacity-building events such as the ONS-MECC-NACA advanced palliative care course for nurses, the MECC-NACA satellite paediatric oncology workshop, and the NCI-MECC-NACA workshop on cancer research.
Sheik Khalfan Al Esry, Assistant Mufti of Oman, spoke at the conference on the unique spiritual needs of geriatric oncology patients in the Middle East.
Other topics discussed included:
- the use of opioids in the Middle East
- the chronology of distress, anxiety and depression in older cancer patients
- screening patients for depression
- regular use of pain assessment tools
- psychosocial intervention with cancer patients
- cultural and religious considerations in paediatric palliative care.
Dr Jim Cleary, director of the Pain and Policy Studies Group at the University of Wisconsin, US, facilitated a workshop on the use of social media in palliative care. During the workshop, participants were encouraged to create their own Twitter accounts and to participate in the #hpmglobal Tweetchat that was taking place during the workshop.
Another delegate, tweeting from the conference, noted the: “determination of participants to deliver quality palliative care under adverse conditions.”