Strengthening palliative care as a component of integrated treatment throughout the life course

Categories: Policy.

Co-sponsored by a host of palliative care organizations, including WPCA, the event was organized by Diederik Lohman from Human Rights Watch, with financial support from Open Society Foundations and the World Medical Association.

Dr Serafin Sanchez, Deputy Minister of Health for the Republic of Panama attended the event. Panama has emerged as a country willing to lead on palliative care recognition at the WHA. Dr Sanchez opened the meeting by saying that 50 million people need palliative care annually. Prof Moreira, a pediatric oncologist from Senegal, discussed the need for palliative care for children and the disparities between low, middle and high income countries. Dr Mary Cardosa from the Malaysian Medical Association and Dr Idris from Nigeria shared examples of the challenges of building palliative care in their countries. 

Dr Kathy Greelee, assistant secretary of state for the US Department of Health and Human Services, discussed the importance of responding to the needs of an increasingly aged population, and the meeting was closed by Dr John Beard, director of WHO’s Ageing and Life Course department, who spoke about the importance of training and told delegates that both health professionals and patients and families need to overcome fear in addressing palliative care needs. 

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) also used the event to share a new report on global access to opioids from the European Society of Medical Oncology.

This is the second side event on palliative care held at the WHA, the first being held in 2012. These events are being organized to highlight the importance of palliative care and to prepare the way for the introduction of a stand-alone resolution on palliative care that is expected to be introduced for the 2014 WHA. That resolution should call on member states to promote palliative care development and for the WHO to take a more prominent role in palliative care development globally.

Note: Other co-sponsors of this event were ALCP, APCA, Hospice Africa Uganda, IAHPC, & KEHPCA and UICC.