The global palliative care community reacts to Nelson Mandela’s death

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Writing for the South Africa edition of ehospice, the CEO of the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa, Dr Liz Gwyther, wrote

“It is with great sadness that we hear of Nelson Mandela’s death and yet a relief that he no longer has to endure a drawn out dying process.

“We are all blessed to have lived in the time of this great man who endured so much for the sake of justice and freedom and equality in South Africa. We honour his legacy and will remember him forever, trying to follow his example as a man of integrity not willing to compromise his standards and persevering without thought of personal gain or glory.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they mourn his death; as we join the whole of South Africa and the world in celebrating Nelson Mandela’s life and in mourning his death.”

Earlier today Dr Emmanuel Luyirika, the Executive Director of the African Palliative Care Association wrote:

“For those of us in health care and specifically palliative care, Mandela has left a legacy that we can build on to ensure that we care for all especially at their point of most need … Under his leadership and the then Minister of Health Hon Dr Nkosazana- Dlamini Zuma (now President of The African Union Commission) access to medicines and health services was improved for the black majority and supervised the development of one of the first patients’ rights charter on the African continent which summarises the rights and responsibilities of patients.”

Joan Marston, the South African CEO of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network added: “He was a remarkable man and we were so very blessed to have him to lead us into democracy without violence and bitterness. He also loved children and many of our hospice children from times past had the joy of attending his birthday parties. He deserves to be at rest and in a place with no more suffering.”

Michel Sidibé, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, wrote, “His actions helped save millions of lives and transformed health in Africa. He broke the conspiracy of silence and gave hope that all people should live with dignity.”

Mary Callaway, the Project Director of the International Palliative Care Initiative with the Open Society Foundation’s Public Health Program said: “I am so saddened to hear of the death of President Mandela but relieved to know that he is finally at peace.”

And David Praill, the Co-Chair of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, wrote to HPCA in South Africa to say: “Thinking of you and all South Africans as you mourn the passing of Nelson Mandela. What a remarkable role model for leaders everywhere”.

Mandela’s life and the impact of his work continues to impact the entire world. Today, the global palliative care community has come together to remember and celebrate his life. 

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