Thousands across 60 countries prepare to celebrate World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

Categories: Community Engagement and Featured.

To mark World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2019 (12 October 2019) thousands of people in around 60 countries will be coming together to celebrate, support and speak up about the importance of hospice and palliative care under Universal Health Coverage. Family carers and volunteers are a key component of palliative care services as they provide essential support.

This year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day theme is ‘My Care, My Right’ and aims to communicate that palliative care can be demanded by the public – and that, together, every person impacted by a life limiting illness can influence their policy makers to prioritise palliative care financing under Universal Health Coverage.

Are you planning a celebration for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day? 

Here are some resources as a guide:

  1. An opportunity to showcase celebrations by registering events on a Global Impact Map.
  2. The World Hospice and Palliative Care Day toolkit which includes resources that address this year’s theme: “My Care, My Right.”
  3. My Care, My Right branding materials.
  4. A social media frame that can be uploaded to Twitter and Facebook accounts.
  5. A press release template for media engagement.

Campaign activities around the world include a 500 person Voices for Hospices concert in the United Kingdom, a TEDx style public speech in Shanghai, China, a public hearing on palliative care in the Sorcoba court of law in Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as public events and celebrations across the world.

A global snapshot on the need for palliative care services

Worldwide, more than 25.5 million people die every year with serious health suffering that requires palliative care. Governments have a responsibility under Universal Health Coverage to provide resources for care delivery to ensure patients have palliative care services per this year’s theme: ‘my care, my right’.

Less than 10% of the overall need for palliative care is being met globally. The number of people who experience serious health-related suffering is much higher, with an additional 35.5 million people requiring some degree of palliative care outside of end-of-life care.

More than 80% of these cases are in low- and middle-income countries, where access to immediate release oral morphine, an essential and inexpensive medicine to alleviate pain, as well any other type of palliative care, is severely lacking.

Global policies restricting access to opioids mean that millions of people are denied medicines to relieve pain linked to illness or injury[1].

Dr Stephen Connor, Executive Director of the WHPCA, explains:

“The numbers are huge and so is the unmet need as only a minority of countries have implemented equitable palliative care programs through a public health approach. This year’s World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is about collectively saying, palliative care is the right of every man, woman and child. Together we can stop unnecessary pain and distress during illness and at the end of life.”

For further queries on event registration and campaign resources, email

[1] Knaul FM, Farmer PE, Krakauer El, et al. Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief—an imperative of universal health coverage: the Lancet Commission report. Lancet. 2017; (published online Oct 11.)


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