61 million people experience serious health related suffering worldwide every year (The Lancet, 2018), and it is estimated that less than 10% of people who need palliative care are able to access it (WHO, 2013).
A recent report released by the Lancet Commission on Pain Relief and Palliative Care calculated that an essential package of palliative care within Universal Health Coverage (UHC) can cost as little as $3 per capita in Low and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) (The Lancet, 2018).
We are all mortal and palliative care is a universal issue.
Palliative care improves the quality of people’s lives while also improving health system efficiencies and is a fundamental part of good primary care for all.
WHO and member states can work to end preventable suffering by ensuring the essential, cost-effective package of palliative care presented in the Lancet Commission Report is available to all as part of UHC packages.
Thanks to sustained advocacy efforts over the past year, palliative care language has been included as part of the WHO’s General Programme of Work and the indicator within the impact framework, and the delegation will be working to maintain this at the WHA.
Core objectives for the palliative care delegation at this year’s WHA are:
- To build increased commitment for an essential package of palliative care as part of UHC amongst WHO and member states
- Urge member states and partners to request WHA to pass the Roadmap Decision on Access to Medicines
- Ask member states to comment on opioid language in Report on Access to Medicines (A. 71/12), and request more balanced approach; and
- Ask member states and partners to support the Draft General Programme of Work (A.71/4).
Find out more about this year’s World Health Assembly, and watch the sessions live here: Official documents of the WHA.
You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #WHA71