Call to action for children’s palliative care services

Categories: Policy.

The call for action features in a recent briefing paper by the ICPCN on palliative care for children living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The paper highlights the need for palliative care services and the lack of provision around the world – the ICPCN has produced a map that indicates levels of service provision for each country.

According to the paper, each year an estimated 8 million children (6% of all births worldwide) are born with a serious birth defect or symptomatic genetic abnormality. The result of lack of access to palliative care services for babies, children and young people is unrelieved and unnecessary suffering.

The organisation argues that “a government response based on education, policies and access to adequate medications would be cost-effective, achievable and compassionate,” and sets out essentials for children’s palliative care provision alongside the call to action.

Call to action

To fulfil the right of making palliative care accessible to all children who need it, countries should: 

  • integrate children’s palliative care into all healthcare services for children
  • include children’s palliative care in relevant health, welfare and educational policies
  • ensure training for healthcare workers in children’s palliative care and development of mentor programmes to support these professionals in their work settings
  • ensure equitable access to pain-relieving and other palliative medicines, including opioids
  • make available adequate funding for the provision of children’s palliative care services.

Download the call to action online from the website of NCD Child.