Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2014; Volume 15, No 6, June

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear readers:

Last month the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva adopted a historic resolution urging member states to strengthen palliative care “as a component of comprehensive care within the continuum of care.” Many thanks to Panama, the country which originally sponsored the resolution, as well as the rest of the countries that co-sponsored it. 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.

Also, on the occasion of the WHA, many activities were planned, including two side events sponsored by country missions and others in conjunction with NGOs in formal relations with WHO. IAHPC co-sponsored 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 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 presented the findings of the ATOME project and IAHPC’s Opioid Price Watch, 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.

IAHPC, Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance and Human Rights Watch delegates to the WHA in Geneva last month.

The Policy and Advocay Article by Katherine Pettus in this edition of the Newsletter, provides additional information about this historic palliative care resolution.

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair, Board of Directors

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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