2009; Volume 10, No 6, June

Roberto Wenk, MD Liliana De Lima, MHA


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Message from the Chair
and Executive Director

Roberto Wenk, MD (Argentina)
Liliana De Lima, MHA (USA)

Dear readers:

During this past month a lot of things happened while we were in Vienna:

  1. On May 9th, we had our Board of Directors’ meeting attended by seven directors including our past Chair, and one officer. It was the largest gathering we have had in a long time. We presented and discussed our 2008 Annual Report and analyzed ways in which IAHPC can better serve its purpose and mission. We also discussed several of the current programs and projects that we are working on. We are very grateful with all those who attended and wish to thank them for their valuable feedback and suggestions.

We also wish to thank the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) and Ms Heidi Blumhuber, the EAPC Executive Director, for facilitating the meeting room accommodations for the board meeting.

  1. On May 5th the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) was launched with the participation of the main regional palliative care associations (EAPC, APCA, ALCP and APHN) plus IAHPC and national organizations from the USA, Canada and India. The WPCA is an alliance of national and regional hospice and palliative care organizations that brings together people from around the world who share a vision of universal access to quality palliative care. Congratulations to the Chairs, Mr. David Praill and Dr. Cynthia Goh, and Dr. Stephen Connor, executive officer of WPCA, for this important event.

From May 5-7th the WPCA also hosted a Worldwide Summit of National Associations of Hospice and Palliative Care. This meeting focused on building the core competencies of the members of the WPCA in education, fundraising, advocacy, organizational development and leadership. In addition, the working groups of WPCA, including the advocacy group, of which Liliana is a member, met and discussed ways that we can work and collaborate together to further advance the palliative care agenda in the international arena.

  1. From May 7-10th, we participated in the 11th Congress of the EAPC in two activities:
    1. On May 7th, Roberto participated, along with Dr. Carl Johan Furst, in a workshop along with representatives of national associations about the Budapest Commitments. The Budapest Commitments are part of a campaign to develop strategies at the country level to improve palliative care education, policies and access to opioids for the treatment of pain. The Budapest Commitments were launched at the 10th Congress of the EAPC in Budapest, June 6-9, 2007. Soon the EAPC will present the results of the workshop, but we all agree that there a lot of countries that still need support and guidance in order to reach their goals in these three areas. We will continue to work with EAPC to help with the Budapest Commitments and the countries that have expressed interest and requested support.
    2. Along with Dr. Carlos Centeno Cortes from EAPC and Dr. Stephen Connor from the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA), we participated on May 9th in a joint session called The World is too large! How can we make it smaller? The initiatives in which we all have collaborated were discussed. Dr Centeno presented the work of the EAPC Task Force on the development of palliative care in Europe which led to the publication of the Atlas on Palliative Care in Europe. Dr. Connor presented the work of the WPCA and Liliana presented the Joint Declaration for the Recognition of Access to Pain Treatment and Palliative Care as Human Rights. Many thanks to the EAPC for putting together this session and for inviting us to participate.

Although this Congress was started as a regional palliative care association (Europe), it has become, due to the diversity of participants, a worldwide event. It was exciting to see participants from all regions of the world, especially from developing countries. This was the largest Congress of the EAPC with regards to the number of participants, sessions and posters received. Congratulations to the EAPC for putting together a successful meeting and for its continuing efforts to develop palliative care in Europe and around the world.

  1. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the program for Access to Controlled Medications of the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a special expert group meeting on how to estimate the requirements for substances under international control. The purpose of the meeting was to help develop guidelines for countries to determine what is an adequate quota for controlled medications that ensures safe and effective access for their populations in need. We congratulate the INCB and the WHO for this effort and for their interest in ensuring access to medications for the treatment of pain and other needs. We also wish to thank Ms Karen Ryan of the Pain and Policy Studies Group at the WHO Collaborating Center in the University of Wisconsin in Madison for inviting IAHPC to participate in this session.

These are exciting times for palliative care because there has been a tremendous increase in interest in international issues. However, this interest does not always result in a truly global agenda but rather a fractured and regionalized effort. In order to remain operationally simple and cost effective, we will continue, with our limited funds, to collaborate and communicate with organizations, NGOs and institutions from around the world that also wish to help in this field. We hope that our new projects will provide additional ways to network and collaborate with the global palliative care community.

Until next month,

Roberto Wenk, MD
Chair, Board of Directors

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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