This month marks several important events in the international agenda:
On this month, the World Health Assembly will convene in Geneva as it does every year. On the agenda is a historic resolution urging member states to strengthen palliative care “as a component of integrated treatment within the continuum of care.” Many thanks to all the countries who sponsored the resolution. We are proud of having been part of the team helping and providing support and advice, along with several other international and regional organizations. Congratulations to all and especially many thanks to Mr. Diederik Lohman for his leadership and help.
On the occasion of the 67th World Health Assembly, there will be many activities planned, including side events sponsored by country missions and others in conjunction with NGOs in formal relations with WHO. IAHPC will co-sponsor along with the countries of Latvia, Hungary, the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International, the European Association for Palliative Care, Help the Hospices, and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, a side event on Access to Opioid Medicines in Europe and the World: Findings of the ATOME Project for Eastern Europe and consequences for other countries and for palliative care. Access to opioid medicines is a major problem in most countries around the world. Although these medicines are considered essential medicines by WHO, these medicines are beyond reach for some 5.6 billion people due to over-emphasis on drug control. The Access to Opioid Medications in Europe (ATOME) Project (www.atome-project.eu) addressed the inadequate consumption of opioid medicines in 12 eastern European countries by analyzing policies and legislation and promoting awareness of the problem among policy makers, health care professionals and the general public. During the side event, Lukas as well as other experts will present the findings of the ATOME project as well as the initiatives taken by many countries to eliminate the identified barriers. Many thanks to Dr. Willem Scholten for his help on the planning and development of this side event.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Katherine Pettus has been recruited as the IAHPC Advocacy Officer! Dr. Pettus has been contributing regularly to the Policy section in our Newsletter, and serving as our liaison to the International Drug Policy Consortium and the Vienna NGO Coalition on Drugs. She will be based in Geneva, where she will participate in meetings and conferences, getting to know key mission representatives and building constructive relationships to further advance palliative care globally. This ties very well with the WHA Resolution and the work that we will continue doing to help implement this Resolution throughout the world. This edition of the NL includes Katherine’s bio. We welcome her to IAHPC and look forward to working with her.
On a sad note, the Open Society Foundations (OSF) recently announced the retirement of Mary Callaway, the Director of the International Palliative Care Initiative, at the end of 2014. From their OSF positions, Miss Callaway along with Dr. Kathleen Foley, have been instrumental in the development of palliative care in the United States and in many other countries of the world. We are very sad to see them leave and know we will continue to benefit from their personal wisdom and expertise. Much of what has been achieved in these past years is tied to “Mary and Kathy” so they should be very proud of their work. The palliative care field owes them a great deal in many more ways that can be stated in this message and we will always be grateful for their support and guidance.
And on a good note, this edition includes several opportunities for training and learning. IAHPC will be giving ten scholarships to support the participation of palliative care workers from developing countries to attend the International Congress on Palliative Care in Montreal. Keep reading to find more information and instructions on how to apply.
Until next month,
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair, Board of Directors
Liliana De Lima, MHA