2016; Volume 17, No 12, December
Message from the Chair and Executive Director
Welcome to our last issue of this year's Newsletter.
We are pleased to inform the global palliative care community of the re-election of Lukas as the Chair of IAHPC Board of Directors for an additional three-year term. The board unanimously voted in favor of a proposal submitted by Dr. Roberto Wenk in a strong show of support for Lukas. We are very happy to be able to continue working together!
As it was announced a few weeks ago, IAHPC will be giving 20 scholarships to support the travel of palliative care workers to attend the 15th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care which will take place in Madrid, Spain on May 2017. This edition of the Newsletter includes the full announcement and instructions on how to apply. Applications from all disciplines are welcome!
As the year ends, we are proud of the things we were able to achieve through our programs and projects and of the support we were able to provide to developing countries in the accomplishment of our mission. Some examples of activities aimed to improve the adequate care of patients and families around the world, include:
- Traveling Scholarships: 62 traveling scholarships to individuals from 21 countries were awarded during 2016 to congresses in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada. Through this program, IAHPC provided financial support to palliative care leaders from developing countries to attend an international palliative care congress, course, seminars or training sessions. This, and previous editions of this Newsletter, includes narratives from the grantees describing their experience attending the congress and how they will use their new knowledge to advance palliative care.
- The celebration of October as the Members’ Recognition Month to build awareness and understanding of the vital function that our members play in the advancement of our mission, as well as to give recognition to our members for their support. Two traveling scholarships were awarded in the following categories:
- Increasing Membership: to increase the number of members by giving a prize to the individual who recruits the highest number of new or renewed members during October. Dr. Faraja C. Kiwanga is a senior medical officer at Ocean Road Cancer Institute, the United Republic of Tanzania. Many thanks to Dr. Faraja for her contribution and support!
- Recognizing Loyalty: to maintain the loyalty of members by giving a prize to a selected individual or institution who keeps the IAHPC membership active for at least two consecutive years. The winner of this award for 2016 is Kathleen Introna, a volunteer palliative care nurse in Kanrunrak Palliative Care Centre in Khon Kaen, Thailand.
- Opioid Price Watch project: During 2015, IAHPC announced phase 2 of Opioid Price Watch (OPW), a project to monitor and report the dispensing price of opioids around the world. In 2016, we completed the second phase and a paper is now available in the Journal of Palliative Medicine. The paper presents data on availability, dispensing prices and affordability submitted by 67 participants from 43 countries. This project is as a component of the agreement of work as a non-governmental organization in formal relations with the World Health Organization (WHO) and was funded with grants from the US Cancer Pain Relief Committee and Open Society Foundations. Using the results from the first and second phase, the IAHPC has also created an interactive map, highlighting the different prices of opioids around the world. The data is displayed in the IAHPC website.
- IAHPC Position Statement on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide: The IAHPC formed a working group (WG) of seven board members and two staff officers who volunteered to participate in a process to develop the IAHPC position statement on Euthanasia and Physician-Assisted Suicide. The WG developed several drafts and a position statement which was approved in full by the IAHPC Board of Directors. In summary, the IAHPC position Statement is: IAHPC believes that no country or state should consider the legalization of euthanasia or PAS until it ensures universal access to palliative care services and to appropriate medications, including opioids for pain and dyspnea. The IAHPC also believes that in countries and states where euthanasia and/or PAS are legal, IAHPC agrees that palliative care units should not be responsible for overseeing or administering these practices. The law or policies should include provisions so that any health professional who objects must be allowed to deny participating. The full statement is available Open Access online for free.
- In October, IAHPC cosponsored with the Barbados Association of Palliative Care a Workshop on availability and rational use of controlled medicines for the Caribbean countries. Prescribers, pharmacists, and national competent authorities from eleven different Caribbean countries attended. The Bridgetown workshop featured experts on policy, palliative care and human rights from the US, the UK and the Caribbean. The country groups identified unduly restrictive barriers and developed action plans to ensure that governments and health services could deliver affordable, accessible, palliative care to all citizens of the CARICOM (Caribbean Community) region. Workshop participants learned about the international drug control treaties, the World Health Assembly Palliative Care Resolution, the Sustainable Development Goals, the human rights conventions, and the recommendations delivered by the United Nations at the recent Special Session on the World Drug Problem to improve access to medicines containing regulated ‘narcotics’. They also learned about how countries can elaborate estimates to prevent stockouts of medications and which medicines are essential in palliative care. Taking advantage of the presence of 47 participants from the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean Palliative Care Association (CARIPALCA) was formed.
- Pallipedia: Free online palliative care dictionary: During 2016, Doctor Roberto Wenk performed a thorough review and update of Pallipedia, the free online palliative care dictionary. Dr. Wenk will continue to be the Senior Editor for Pallipedia and for coordinating its updates. We are deeply grateful to Dr. Wenk for his hard work and contribution to this project. Pallipedia now has 1,000 terms and over 1,300 definitions. To access the dictionary click here..
We would not have been able to achieve the above without the generous support of our board of directors, our members, donors, foundations and organizations. We are especially grateful to the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Open Society Foundations, Pettus Foundation, and the US Cancer Pain Relief Committee for their support.
All our donors and supporters believe in IAHPC’s mission and in our goal to have an impact on the promotion and development of palliative care. Our ability to continue to help others depends heavily on the support we receive from all, so please consider donating to IAHPC. You can donate through our website.
We face many challenges in the future, especially in the light of the current global economic situation. We are aware that we face financial constraints and have prepared ourselves to meet these challenges. Our strong commitment to supporting the development of palliative care around the world will continue to be our driving force. We wish to thank all those who make our work worthwhile – the patients and their families, the healthcare workers, and the volunteers who dedicate and give so much to palliative care.
Best wishes to all of you, your friends and family members for the coming holidays and we hope that next year will bring happiness and success.
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA