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.

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)

2020 Advocacy Initiatives

We wish you a Happy New Year!


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.

146th Meeting of the World Health Organization Executive Board Meeting

IAHPC Briefing Note


View 2019 Advocacy Initiatives