Advocacy Program

IAHPC Advocacy Program


The content of this section is under the coordination of Dr. Katherine Pettus, PhD, the IAHPC Advocacy Officer. If you wish to suggest any additional resources to add to this page, please contact Dr. Pettus via our website.



What is Palliative Care Advocacy?

Advocacy Program

Through this program, the IAHPC, in collaboration with other UN approved non-governmental organisations, seeks to ensure that access to palliative care and to essential medicines for pain relief and palliative care are included in international policy documents and strategies, as components of the right to health. Ideally, national palliative care organisations can leverage these international documents, usually approved by members of their own governments, to improve palliative care delivery for their patients and secure public funding. IAHPC works on the drafting and implementation of resolutions, agreements and strategies with international agencies of the United Nations, including the World Health Organisation and with governments by invitation. We also train palliative care providers who are members of palliative care associations to do advocacy for specific needs in their countries and regions.

Palliative Care Advocacy, Why Does it Matter?

Journal of Palliative Medicine March 2020.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What is a palliative care policy advocacy? Structured communication between national, regional, and global palliative care associations (non-governmental organisations) and government representatives, at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
  2. Why does IAHPC do palliative care advocacy? To improve care for the patients and families cared for by our members. Our advocacy includes encouraging governments to improve access to internationally controlled essential medicines such as morphine by collaborating, upon request, to review and revise unduly restrictive laws and regulations, educate prescribers, and raise public awareness raising of the benefits of rational access to controlled medicines.
  3. Who can do palliative care advocacy? Members of a palliative care or other professional associations or institutions. IAHPC advocacy is done by individuals and teams in an institutional context that is framed by the United Nations system. National advocacy is done in the context of your own government.
  4. How can I do palliative care advocacy? It depends on the issue and on what level you want to work: local, regional, national, international, or a combination. Advocacy is done by individuals, but through institutions.
    1. Join your national, regional, and international palliative care organizations.
    2. Stay current by reading the IAHPC newsletter!
    3. Get to know your lawmakers and regulators). Invite them to visit your program and see your work firsthand.
    4. Participate in social media (create and join accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, and Youtube.) IAHPC has all those accounts. You can “follow” us and stay current. (we can help!)
    5. Ensure your association designates an advocacy focal point to engage in direct communication: letters, emails, etc. with lawmakers, and with regional and international palliative care organisations (we can help!)
    6. Get to know journalists and representatives of traditional media: learn to write press releases, editorials, and co-author journal articles (we can help)
    7. Participate in a delegation with your national, regional, or international association in meetings where public health issues are debated and policy goals are set out in resolutions and consensus documents (we can help)

Access to the Advocacy course "Advocating for Palliative Care in the Multilateral System" (Basic)

by Katherine Pettus, PhD. IAHPC Advocacy Officer

Free to IAHPC Members! If you are a member, access to the Advocacy course here. If you're not yet a member, please join today, or ask your Institution to join you and your colleagues can take this course.


2020 Advocacy Initiatives


Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Release of the World Drug Report June 26, 2020

Statement of Dr. Abidan Chansa, Zambia for IAHPC and Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs Re Access to Controlled Medicines


IAHPC Submission to WHA73

IAHPC Report from WHA


Human rights-based response to COVID-19 in prisons Addendum to Policy Brief on Compassionate Release


Policy Brief: Compassionate Release and Palliative Care in Prison


63rd Meeting of Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Presentation of Ms. Heloisa Broggiato to CND63 High Level Side Event on Increasing Access to Internationally Controlled Essential Palliative Care Medicines
IAHPC statement to CND 63 on Item 6
Nota de Información de parte de IAHPC
Promoción de la sensibilización, la educación y la capacitación como parte de un enfoque amplio para garantizar la disponibilidad de sustancias fiscalizadas y el acceso a ellas con fines médicos y científicos y mejorar su uso racional.

IAHPC Briefing Note
Promoting awareness-raising, education and training as part of a comprehensive approach to ensuring access to and the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes and improving their rational use.


Ongoing IAHPC Advocacy Initiatives

IAHPC Concept Note for WHO Group of Friends of Palliative and Long Term Care
IAHPC/WHPCA/ICPCN Concept Note for Nursing Palliative Care SIde Event at WHA73


WHO Public Hearing on Guidelines Scoping Document -- WHO guideline on ensuring balanced national policies for access and safe use of controlled medicines

IAHPC and Dr. Lukas Radbruch Statements for WHO Public Hearing on Guidelines Scoping Document.


146th Meeting of the World Health Organization Executive Board Meeting

Statement of IAHPC to WHO EB146 on Primary Health Care
Statement of IAHPC to WHO EB146 on Universal Health Coverage
IAHPC Presentation to G2H2 at Pre-WHO EB146 Civil Society Briefing
IAHPC Briefing Note


IAHPC statement to WHO Public Hearing Guidelines Development Group Pain in Children


WHO Public Hearing on Public Hearing on Scope for the revised WHO Guideline on the Management of Chronic Pain in Children

  1. please register online here by 23:59 Geneva local time Sunday 12 January 2020.
  2. please write to the WHO Secretariat and request that the meeting be webcast for registrants who cannot attend in person.
  3. please write to your permanent mission in Geneva (contact list here), request that they accept the Secretariat's invitation to attend the meeting, and enclose some information about the situation regarding palliative care and access to palliative care medicines in your country. If you need more information on this, or data, contact me and/or consult our data map and website resources.
Please send me the letter you write to your Permanent Mission or BCC me, so we can track contacts with missions upload as examples of national advocacy. Two letters that have already been sent from Uganda are here: APCA Letter to Uganda Geneva Mission, HAU Letter to Uganda Mission in Geneva.
View 2019 Advocacy Initiatives