As of January 2012 there were only 183 NGO’s in official relations with WHO. These NGOs are international bodies rather than nationally focused. To gain official relations status with WHO is a process that involves establishing an ongoing relationship where collaborative work is defined and carried out over a minimum of two years. As part of the process an agreed plan of activities are developed for the future.
WPCA has been working with WHO on a wide variety of projects however the two most significant ones have been the publication of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End-of-Life and a collaboration with the Stop TB department on introducing palliative care for patients with drug resistant TB. The TB work has been to help increase the capacity of existing TB providers to learn palliative care and to collaborate with local palliative care experts. Presentations on palliative care have been done at the EURO and WPRO regions and at the international conference on TB and lung health in Kuala Lumpur and work on palliative care guidelines for TB has started.
The publication of the Global Atlas is expected by April of this year. The Atlas will be a joint WHO/WPCA publication that for the first time defines the need for palliative care at the end-of-life for all appropriate diseases. The Atlas also addresses the current capacity for palliative care delivery; the barriers to palliative care, examples of creative palliative care programming around the world, and recommendations for policy going forward. The Atlas will serve as a benchmark for advocacy efforts to measure our progress in addressing the huge unmet need for palliative care worldwide. Additional work with WHO includes work on aging, NCD’s, gender issues, cervical and breast cancer guidelines, and more non-disease specific palliative care guidance.
Being in official relations with WHO also means that we will have a voice at WHO meetings, including the annual World Health Assembly and will be able to work more actively on committees and projects of the WHO that involve palliative care. WPCA will continue to collaborate with all our members and colleagues in palliative care to rally our collective voice to bring about the changes that are needed to achieve our vision of a world with universal access to palliative care.
It is an exciting time for the palliative care community and WPCA and IAHPC to look forward to working together to ensure that palliative care is strongly represented in relations with the WHO.