International palliative care forum in Armenia

Categories: Policy.

Participants from Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, Albania and internationally discussed legal aspects of palliative care, application of best practice and strategies for increasing awareness of palliative care in the region.

A local news resource, Arka, reported that the Palliative Care Centre, an affiliation of Armenia’s National Cancer Centre, launched a fund-raising campaign to collect at least $2 million to build a national palliative care centre. The campaign was launched on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day this year and $1000 has been raised so far.

Armenia has four pilot palliative care centres with the capacity to treat up to 15 people a month. They are located in Yerevan and the Ararat and Lori regions. The Palliative Care Centre of the National Cancer Centre can treat 57 people per year. Arka reports that 3,500 people in Amrmenia need palliative care daily.

Armenia published draft standards of palliative care in 2012. The country is classified as having ‘isolated provision’ of palliative care services by the EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe (EAPC 2013). Although palliative care is recognised as a medical speciality, it is not taught in the country’s medical schools.

According to Arka: “Armenia’s parliamentary committee on health, maternity and childhood issues is elaborating a bill on narcotic, psychotropic and psychedelic drugs, which was approved in the first reading, which provides a clear description of the mechanisms  doctors should be guided by in prescribing opioid analgesics.”

Dr Stephen Connor, senior fellow of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, attended the meeting. He said: “It is wonderful that eight former soviet and socialist republics have come together and learn so much from each other about how to implement palliative care in a legacy health care system that has previously not been receptive to evidence based palliative care approaches.”

Read more on the Arka website.