Events and activity in global hospice and palliative care: ehospice looks ahead to 2015

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The most significant event for palliative care in 2014 (arguably the most significant since the start of the modern hospice movement in the 1960s) was the adoption of the resolution: ‘Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course’ by the World Health Assembly, the decision-making body of the WHO.

An ad-hoc technical advisory group has been formed to advise the WHO on the implementation of the resolution. This international group is made up of experts in various aspects of hospice and palliative care, such as: education, research and clinical work.

The meeting of the WHO Executive Board will take place at the end of January, setting the agenda for the World Health Assembly in May.

These two events will offer an opportunity for palliative care advocates to engage with national health care policy makers and to support the implementation of the resolution.  

The 11th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference will be held in Taipei, Taiwan from 30 April to 3 May. The conference theme of ‘Transforming Palliative Care’ reflects the many changes happening in the field.

Delegates will be welcomed from around the Asia Pacific region and the world to share learning and produce new knowledge to inform practice in their individual contexts.

The European Association for Palliative Care will hold its 14th World Congress in Copenhagen from 8-10 May. The theme for the Congress is: ‘Building Bridges’.

The Congress seeks to build bridges between different professional and non professional groups, disciplines, countries, regions and continents. The organisers hope to bring together the best caregivers, clinicians, researchers and educators in the field of palliative care to discuss current issues (EAPC, 2015).

The 4th international Public Health and Palliative Care conference takes place between 11 and 16 May in Bristol, UK, and will focus on ‘Community Resilience in Practice’.

International speakers will take part in the conference, offering presentations and discussions on topics such as: Low Resource Communities, Social & Cultural Diversity, Learning from Other Development Sectors, Understanding and Participating in Public Health Approaches to End of Life Care in Dementia, Engaging Communities and Reframing Dying, Loss and Grief.

The conference will help to communicate the importance of public health ideas and approaches in palliative care at a global level.

Preparations for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem (UNGASS) 2016 will continue throughout the coming year.

The UNGASS, originally scheduled for 2019, has been brought forward following a call by a group of Latin American presidents for the development of more effective responses to drug trafficking based on public health, respect for human rights and harm reduction (IDPC).

In terms of hospice and palliative care, the UNGASS is a crucial opportunity to influence policies that make it easier for patients to access essential opioid medications, such as morphine.

You can add your voice to the call for pain relief by submitting a written contribution to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND).

The United Nations will be reviewing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and setting new targets for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September. Palliative care would be included under the proposed goal of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

UHC means that all people who need quality, essential health services (prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliation) receive them without enduring financial hardship (Lancet, 2014). 

The goals will be finalised in September 2015. You can follow the process on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.  

Throughout 2015, ehospice will continue to publish international news and individual stories from the world of hospice and palliative care.

This will include reporting on global events, sharing the experience of patients, families and palliative care workers, and promoting good practice and innovative responses to the challenges of providing hospice and palliative care in diverse contexts throughout the world.

Please don’t hesitate to share your news with us via email to

All the best for 2015.


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