Palliative Care at the 72nd World Health Assembly

Categories: Featured, Must Read, People & Places, and Policy.

This week, the 72nd World Health Assembly Session is underway in Geneva, Switzerland – with a host of consequential health topics discussed including the theme,”Universal Health Coverage: Leaving No-one Behind”.

Follow deliberations on Twitter at: #WHA72; #PalliativeCare

Watch live coverage of plenaries at:

On May 21st at 7pm local time, the IAHPC will be hosting the only side event on palliative care titled: Palliative Care and Universal Health Coverage: a Component of Primary Health Care. The event is sponsored by the governments of Panama and Malaysia.

“Palliative care is the neglected component of global health and primary health care, both of which prioritise the prevention of ‘premature mortality’, maternal child healthcare, epidemics and infectious diseases,” said Katherine Pettus, Advocacy Officer for IAHPC.

“All of these are important, of course, but the ideology of global health provides an incomplete picture unless it takes into account how people die, where they die, and the fact that palliative care services as part of primary care, can support patients and families to and through natural death. As Advocacy Officer for IAHPC, it’s my job to relentlessly remind WHO member states of this at venues such as the WHA,” Pettus said.

Panelists and topics at the side event will include:

  • Hon. Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad Health Minister of Malaysia Topic: The Sabah palliative care model and government support for integration of palliative care into primary health care (5 minutes)
  • Representative of the Mission of Panama Topic: Availability of essential palliative care medicines in primary healthcare (5 mins)
  • Dr. Felcia Knaul Chair, Lancet Commission on Pain and Palliative Care Topic: Findings of the Lancet Commission on Pain and Palliative Care regarding the abyss in access to palliative care, primary healthcare as platform to improve population access, and presentation of the Essential Package for low-and-middle income countries (5 mins)
  • Dr. Stephen Watiti, Uganda. Expert patient and palliative care provider perspective. Topic: Nurse training and certification to provide palliative care and prescribe essential controlled medicines at the Hospice Africa Institute (5 mins)
  • WHO Secretariat Topic: Presentation of guides and update on technical work of clusters (5 mins).

Further information on the side event is available below:

Advocacy note in English:
Flyer for Side Event:
Programme for Side Event:

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