Travel date: October 6, 2021
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 17th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care
Origin: Beirut, Lebanon / Destination: Vilvoorde, Belgium
This online congress provided a wide range of valuable topics in palliative care. These include the following but not limited to economics, models of care, management of pain and symptoms, technology and applications, online learning, quality of care and effects of covid 19 on delivery and access of care. Moreover, this conference hosted multiple palliative care service providers from different countries within the European Union which broadened my insight on the challenges faced by others. It was also amazing to listen to the opinions and discussions of various palliative care professionals.
In addition, many online presentations introduced many articles and tools that are helpful to my work in palliative/hospice care. One such example is the guide developed by WHO: Assessing the development of palliative care worldwide: a set of actionable indicators
As a quality and research officer working in a home hospice organization in Lebanon (SANAD). My duties are to collect and report on both operational and clinical indicators and to develop palliative or hospice care models for external organizations. The pre-congress session held by WHO which is called expanding access to quality palliative care worldwide introduced a new PC development monitoring framework that have 18 indicators: 14 of them are for different levels of development. 9 are strategic for the initial levels and 10 are core indicators for middle and high level. The following are the components of framework:
o Provision of palliative care (Integrated Health Services)
o Use of essential medicines
o Education and training
o Health policies
o Empower people and communities
I believe that such framework is comprehensive and include many aspects in palliative care which will be helpful in my daily work as a quality and research officer. Moreover, these indicators can be used to change and amend policies at the national level.
The IAHPC scholars’ program is doing a great job in providing comprehensive information regarding palliative care for scholars from low- and middle-income countries. IAHPC hosted three different conferences which are 1) 2021 Oceanic Palliative Care Conference (21OPCC) 2) the 17th World Congress of the EAPC and the 3)14th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference (APHC). It would be great if IAHPC would choose the most important sessions within each conference and post them on a different platform. This will provide scholars to have an insight about palliative care in different regions.
At the forefront of Lebanon’s modern history, if I were to name challenges that are currently most affecting the provision of palliative care in the Lebanese society, I would have undoubtedly picked the economic recession and lack of pain medications. Moreover, the lack of proper knowledge about palliative care and attitudes of physicians is making the problem worse.
One important solution to these issues is to mobilize resources at the national and community levels through effective collaborations between governmental and non-governmental organizations. Moreover there should be a plan to train different healthcare professionals on palliative care provision.