International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

International Association for Hospice & Palliative Care

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Promoting Hospice & Palliative Care Worldwide

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Message from the Chair &
Executive Director

Eduardo Bruera, MD (USA)
Liliana De Lima, MHA (USA)

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Dear all:
A warm welcome to the new readers from Latin American countries who registered to IAHPC during the past Congress of the Latin American Palliative Care Association! The congress was recently held in Montevideo, Uruguay and almost 300 colleagues from the region attended. Liliana and Ana participated actively in the meeting with a stand giving out information, books, brochures and other items which we hope will be very useful. We are including some pictures of the congress in this Newsletter. Doctors, nurses and psychologists from Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Panama, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, Paraguay, El Salvador, Chile, Peru and Dominican Republic were there. Dr Paulina Taboada, from Chile, was our IAHPC Traveling Scholar to this meeting and she gave an excellent presentation on Bioethics and participated in the Pre Congress Course on Psycho Oncology.
Uruguay was a perfect host and our friends from Hospital De Clinicas and Hospi Saunders did a magnificent job in putting together a wonderful meeting. Thanks also to Dr Eduardo Garcia Yanneo, not only for his help in carrying the heavy boxes of books and material to distribute, but for his support during our stay in Montevideo. It was nice to see many friends again and congratulations to all for their hard work and effort. As you know very well, palliative care has little private and institutional support and therefore many have to pay the travel and registration expenses from their own pocket. This is true in all regions of the world, but much more so in developing countries. The main problems that colleagues from Latin America face in the provision of palliative care are similar to those from Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe: Poverty, lack of education, limited availability to opioids, high cost of opioid medications when available, and limited recognition from the health authorities. Developing countries allocate a very small percent of their GDP to health care as compared to developed countries and the burden of disease is greater. In addition, patients from developing countries pay the health care expense from their pocket rather than from insurance, so there is no atomization of the financial risk. One of the mandates of IAHPC is to help raise awareness among donors and supporters, to guarantee the financial stability of the programs and projects in the field and we are developing strategies to make this possible.
We are very grateful with the Sociedad Vasca de Cuidados Paliativos, and especially to Dr. Wilson Astudillo for the donation of many books in Spanish which we handed out for free in Uruguay. There is very little information on palliative care available in languages other than English, and the books on nursing, medical advances, bereavement, family support and palliative care for older patients sent by Dr Astudillo were gone in two days. The need to translate publications to other languages is enormous. If you have or know of material available in Spanish, French, Chinese, Portuguese, or other languages, please let us know. We would be happy to upload them in our site or place links to where they are available and accessible.
Please help us help others. If you are not a member of IAHPC, we invite you to join us or donate funds to IAHPC, and become part of this great group to support the development of palliative care in the world.

We have some great news from the World Health Organization (WHO) Cancer Control Program! Dr Cecilia Sepulveda, Coordinator of the Cancer Control Program at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva, has sent an update describing the organization's new developments on palliative care. One of the most important initiatives is the discussion of a draft resolution on cancer control during the next Executive Board Meeting 24 to 27 of May 2004, after the World Health Assembly (WHA). If the draft resolution is
accepted by the Executive Board, it is for the WHA to finally adopt it. The draft resolution addresses the need for developing comprehensive cancer control programs, including palliative care and opioid availability. The document is called EB114/3 and can be viewed at

Until next month,
Eduardo Bruera, MD, Chair
Liliana De Lima, MHA, Executive Director

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Dr. Paulina Taboada from Chile, the IAHPC Traveling Scholar to the meeting, Dr Argelia Lara from Mexico, Ms Ana Restrepo from IAHPC and
Dr Roberto Wenk, from Argentina and President of the Latin American Palliative Care Association

Liliana De Lima from IAHPC, Dr Roberto Wenk from Argentina,
Dr Juan Diego Harris from USA,
Dr Paulina Taboada from Chile

Dr. Lisbeth Quesada from Costa Rica,  Drs Maria del Rosario Berenguel and Marleny from Peru

Dr Gustavo Montejo from Mexico
Dr Patricia Bonilla from Venezuela

The Hosts of the meeting: Dr Eduardo Garcia and Dr Roberto Levin with his wife Beatriz.