Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2013; Volume 14, No 2, February

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear readers:

This month we have several important announcements:

IAHPC Board of Directors: As many of you are aware, we recently completed the election of board members, and are proud to announce that Dr. Julia Downing from Uganda is a new member to the board for the term Jan 2013- Dec 2015. Dr. Downing is Honorary Professor at Makerere University, Honorary Research Fellow in the Dept. of Palliative Care & Policy King's College London and an International Palliative Care Consultant – International Children’s Palliative Care Network and the EU project to develop palliative care in the Republic of Serbia.
We welcome Dr. Downing as one of the globally recognized leaders in palliative care to our board and look forward to her participation as a director in this organization.
Three of our current board members were re-elected to the Board:

Zipporah Ali (Kenya) is the National Coordinator of Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA).

Scott Murray (UK) is St Columba’s Hospice Chair of Primary Palliative Care, at the Primary Palliative Care Research Group Centre for Population Health Sciences in the School of Clinical Sciences and Community Health at the University of Edinburgh, and General Practitioner at Mackenzie Medical Centre.

Gayatri Palat (India) is the Program Director of the Palliative Care Access Program - India sponsored by the INCTR and Associate Professor of palliative care at the MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Center in Hyderabad.

WHO Indicator: As many of you know, the World Health Assembly (the governing body of the World Health Organization – WHO) recently adopted a set of indicators for Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), one of which includes an indicator for palliative care. The indicator proposed by WHO is:

Access to palliative care assessed by morphine-equivalent consumption of strong opioid analgesics (excluding methadone) per death from cancer.

We are very happy with the inclusion of an indicator for palliative care and congratulate WHO in getting this approved. Unfortunately, this indicator will prove to be very challenging for developing countries. Data from WHO indicate that less than 5% of the population in middle low and low income countries is covered by cancer registries. In addition, the indicator sends the wrong message that palliative care is only for cancer and only for terminal conditions. Based on these limitations, the IAHPC wrote a position statement which has been published and is now available in Open Access.

You may access the full article or download it in pdf from the following link: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/jpm.2012.0493

IAHPC will continue its commitment to work on a strategy to develop a set of indicators that are appropriate for palliative care and are applicable in all socioeconomic conditions and in all geographical regions.

Scholarships: As in previous congresses of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), IAHPC will provide scholarships this year to help individuals living in lower, lower-middle and upper-middle income categories to cover their cost of travel and stay for the 13th Congress of the EAPC in Prague, May 30 – Jun 2, 2013. This edition includes the announcement, criteria and instructions about how to apply.

International Directories: We have updated the international directories in our website. They are:

Please visit the directories to add, update or read the listings included. To access the directories, click here.

Spiritual Dimensions of Care: This past month, Liliana attended an international consensus workshop on improving the spiritual dimension of whole person care in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting was coordinated by the Institute for Spirituality and Health from the George Washington University School of Medicine (GWish) and by Caritas International with support from the Fetzer Institute. Participants in the meeting included health professionals and spiritual professionals from different faiths and religions. The meeting went very well and a press release will be soon sent by the GWish and Caritas announcing the results. Many thanks to Dr. Christina Puchalski, Director of GWish and to Monsignor Roberti Vitillo, head of Caritsas Internationalis Delegation to the UN in Geneva for this invitation.

Until next month,

Roberto Wenk, MD
Chair Board of Directors

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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