PallCHASE Statement on the Humanitarian Crisis in Ukraine

Categories: Care, Community Engagement, Featured, and In The Media.

As a global humanitarian network, Palliative Care in Humanitarian Aid Situations and Emergencies (PallCHASE) is deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and its devastating impacts on families, children, and vulnerable populations with serious pre-existing medical conditions. Even before the current crisis, nearly half a million children were living lives defined by eight years of war.

With the humanitarian situation growing beyond localized conflict to mass displacement in bordering countries, critical palliative care and life-saving treatment should be delivered as complementary interventions, in accordance with WHO guidelines and Sphere Minimum Standards for Palliative Care.

PallCHASE calls upon the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Health Cluster Ukraine, and all humanitarian actors (donors, resettlement agencies, implementing partners and civil society organizations) to take the following measures to alleviate serious health-related suffering and maintain the dignity of those with serious illness, alongside efforts to save lives:

  1. Identify groups with priority palliative care needs, including: those at risk of life-threatening complications from disruptions to care, including those with HIV, TB, or non-communicable diseases such as insulin-dependent diabetes, severe asthma, cancer, heart and lung diseases; those whose palliative care needs are unmet or exacerbated as a result of crisis; those who suffer acute non-survivable injury; and vulnerable groups including older persons, people with disabilities, and children.
  2. Ensure neonates and children requiring palliative care and technology-based clinical interventions have access to a continuous power supply without which they cannot survive.
  3. Implement a triage approach based on the patient’s medical condition and prognosis and availability of resources, ensuring relief of suffering and assuring the comfort and dignity of patients not expected to survive.
  4. Avoid sudden treatment disruption for people diagnosed with life-limiting illness before the crisis, through the provision of essential medical supplies, devices and equipment.
  5. Account for controlled medicines regulations that may delay availability of essential pain relief.
  6. Establish a local referral system to manage acute complications and complex cases in secondary or tertiary care, and to palliative and supportive care.
  7. Make use of Telemedicine for populations requiring critical care to access emergency palliative care services.

As the situation quickly evolves, PallCHASE is committed to ensuring palliative care is delivered alongside life-saving measures in the Ukraine humanitarian response. Through our broad network of practitioners with expertise in the delivery of palliative care, humanitarian actors can engage PallCHASE for advice and technical support on the timely and adequate provision of palliative care as part of relief interventions.

Technical assistance inquiries:

Media inquiries:

Relevant resources:

Even before the current crisis, nearly half a million children in Ukraine were living lives defined by eight years of war. Here, a young boy in Donetsk delivers water in a shelter as with a doctor in the background during 2014 humanitarian interventions.

Image creditEU Civil Protection Humanitarian Aid via Flickr

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