Submission to global strategy on women’s, children’s and adolescent health on the right to palliative care

Categories: Policy.

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) in collaboration with the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) and the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) recently responded to a call for inputs from the WHO and partners to high-level working group of health and human rights of women, children and adolescents. 

The IAHPC and above mentioned partners submitted recommendations regarding states’ obligations to provide palliative care for women, children and adolescents.

The paper states that according to research undertaken by the ICPCN there are at least 21 million children in need of general palliative care and over 8.5 million in need of specialised services. 

There are currently only 66 countries offering specialised palliative care which means less than 1% of children with life-limiting conditions receive palliative care. 

According to research undertaken by UNICEF (2014) there is an estimated 94 million children with moderate to severe disabilities who would benefit from palliative care. 

The paper also highlights the unknown number of babies, children, adolescents and women in humanitarian settings that would benefit from palliative care, and finally the importance of palliative care during perinatal and neonatal periods as a result of high childhood mortality.

The paper recommends WHO member states must

  • Fulfill their obligations to ensure that palliative care is available and accessible to women, children and adolescents
  • Recognize the high numbers of women, children and adolescents who need palliative care and that only a fraction of those who need it receive it
  • Recognize the contribution of and develop comprehensive programmes to support, women and children as primary caregivers and women as secondary caregivers in their role in improving quality of life of people with life-limiting illness, strengthening community and health systems and moving towards Universal Health Coverage.
  • Implement the palliative care resolution WHA.67.

It also addresses other important topics such as: women as patients who need palliative care, women as primary caregivers who provide and need palliative care and women as secondary caregivers who provide and need palliative care. You can download the full paper here.