ehospice caught up with Prof Gómez-Batiste to find our more about his role and his plans for the coming year.
What are your main responsibilities in your new role?
To design and start the implementation of a WHO strategic plan based in the principles of the Resolution 67.19 of the World Health Assembly of May 2014, ‘Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course’.
The previous work of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life has been an excellent starting point.
We need to achieve internal WHO consensus, external stakeholders consensus, such as creating the Ad Hoc Technical Advisory Group and organising the 1st meeting in Barcelona, involving the WHO Collaborating Centres in the process.
The plan will establish aims and actions with a two-year timeframe, with a special focus in low & middle income countries, the most vulnerable targets, and with the principles of universal coverage and comprehensive integrated care for persons with all types of advanced or progressive chronic conditions, in all settings of care, with a community perspective.
What do you think will be your greatest opportunities here?
To involve Departments of Health, policymakers, managers and funding agencies in the process of prioritization of palliative care as one of the elements of national health services, with a top-down perspective that will be combined with the existing professional and organisational bodies.
It will be also a good opportunity to introduce innovation in aspects like the early palliative care approach of persons with advanced chronic conditions and palliative care needs in the community, creating greater awareness of the spiritual component and of palliative care as a basic human right.
What will be your main challenges?
To involve all WHO departments and WHO regions, Ministries of Health, and achieve consensus with the main stakeholders with the plan, and also get funding and support from donors.
How does the WHO plan to support countries to implement the WHA resolution?
It will be a milestone for countries to have the resolution as reference, the manuals, tools and technical advice and a systematic approach to palliative care programs and services planning, implementation, and evaluation.
The practice of demonstration projects will be an extraordinary support to promote a systematic approach in countries.
The resolution is a very comprehensive document. How can palliative care advocates in-country best support their governments to implement it?
With the combination of advocacy, training, and technical support in a comprehensive way.
What is the timeline for work on the WHA resolution?
Six months to start, two years for actions to be in place, five years for tangible results
What will be the next steps for palliative care at the WHO once you have finished your contract?
To assure continuity and create networks of organizations.
Is there anything I haven’t asked about that you would like to add?
Yes, it is an extraordinary opportunity to develop palliative care as a substantial element of health care systems, involving Ministries of Health with the WHO leadership shared with main stakeholders and experts.