Message from the Chair and Executive Director
This issue marks the 15th Anniversary of the IAHPC Newsletter!
We are very proud of our Newsletter, but most of all we are appreciative of the hard work and dedication of our editor, Dr. William Farr, who has edited and produced each issue during the past fifteen years! The Newsletter has proven to be a wonderful tool to disseminate information and stimulate awareness of a broad range of topics about hospice and palliative care around the world. It has served as a tool for many of you to learn about new developments and events. We also strive to bring attention to your programs, the challenges you face and the progress that thousands have been able to achieve.
Please join us in thanking Dr. Farr for his effort and dedication.
Thanks also to our webmaster, Anne Laidlaw and her team at Alou Web Design, for their excellent work in the lay out, setting and distribution of the Newsletter. Each month Anne receives three versions of the Newsletter from Bill; she transforms them into electronic files and creates text and web versions and sends them to over 6700 subscribers!
We also wish to thank the many contributors and board members who have supplied us with outstanding content each month. We especially thank Dr. Roger Woodruff for his monthly book reviews and Dr. Carla Ripamonti for her Article of the Month. Also we send thanks to our members and readers who submit news and articles about their programs, efforts and the developments in their countries.
Please remember that we accept articles for our Newsletter describing the progress and programs in your countries, as well as news from your region. Your articles enrich our Newsletter and are a crucial part of our mission to facilitate communication.
54th Session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
The 54th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was held March 21-25 in Vienna. IAHPC was represented by Liliana in this session (thanks to an invitation from Diederik Lohman, Senior Researcher in the Health and Human Rights division at Human Rights Watch). This year, the Commission addressed opioid availability for medical and scientific purposes while continuing to discuss the issues of raising awareness about the risks of abusing drugs; improving the understanding of drug addiction as a chronic health disorder; and the importance of research and data collection.
The week-long session of the Commission included consideration of two important draft resolutions:
(A) the first titled "Promoting adequate availability of internationally controlled narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion and abuse" sponsored by Australia and co-sponsored by Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, EU, Indonesia, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Sudan, Thailand, Uruguay, US, Venezuela and Zambia, and
(B) the second titled “Improving the participatory role of civil society in addressing the world drug problem” and recognizing the role that NGOs (such as IAHPC) have in internationally controlled medications, such as opioid analgesics.
Both resolutions were adopted and Member States are obligated to put them into practice.
Opioid Availability Workshops
This past month IAHPC co-organized, with the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) and the Ukrainian League of Palliative and Hospice Care (ULPHC), a workshop in Kiev, to improve availability and accessibility of opioids in the country. More than 30 participants, including prescribers and officials from the government, as well as regulators and senior members of the League attended the workshop. At the end, a document was developed and adopted by all which lists the areas of work, problems and solutions. We thank the ULPHC and paticularly the Chair of its Board, Vasyl’ Knyazevych, as well as to Viktoria Tymoshevska and Kseniya Shapoval for their hospitality and great work. This workshop was funded by the Open Society Foundations. We are also very grateful for their support, trust and work on this initiative.
At the end of this month, IAHPC will be hosting, with the Latin American Association for Palliative Care and the Ministry of Health of Panama, a workshop on opioid availability. The workshop is aimed at six Central American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama. Participants include a member of the International Narcotics Control Board, IAHPC staff, a representative of the Pain and Policy Studies Group/WHO Collaborating Center, National Competent Authorities and prescribers from all 6 countries. During the workshop we will identify the barriers that unduly restrict access to medications and possible solutions to minimize or eliminate them while ensuring their safety and the prevention of diversion. This will be the beginning of a new strategy for several countries, while others such as Panama and Costa Rica will serve as examples of progress to their neighboring countries in the region.
Until next month,
Roberto Wenk, MD
Chair, Board of Directors
Liliana De Lima, MHA
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