Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2015; Volume 16, No 2, February

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear readers,

Several of the IAHPC board members will attend the 22nd International Conference of the Indian Association for Palliative Care in Hyderabad, India. The conference host is Dr. Gayatri Palat, one of our board members. We will take advantage of this opportunity to have an IAHPC board meeting and discuss some of our next programs and projects. We also look forward to meeting for the first time Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, the new IAHPC board member from India.

This edition of the IAHPC Newsletter features an article by Lukas, Eugenia Larjow and Lisa Linge-Dahl about the Access to Opioid Medication in Europe (ATOME) project, initiated by the Access to Controlled Medications Programme of the World Health Organization (WHO) and funded under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Community in 2009. Some of you may know that Lukas was one of the leaders and founders of ATOME. The project investigated why opioid medicines for moderate to severe pain and for the treatment of opioid dependence are not used adequately in 12 European countries, and developed tailor-made solutions for improved access to opioid medicines in these countries. The project ended in November 2014 after five years of work. The article presents some of the main findings and recommendations to governments.

Dr. Katherine Pettus, the IAHPC Advocacy Officer, has been working closely with Dr. Willem Scholten and other experts to generate awareness about ketamine and a proposal to place it under international control by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) next March. Ketamine is an essential medicine used for anesthesia and in many places the only available anesthetic for essential surgery in most rural areas of developing countries, home to more than two billion of the world’s people. Scheduling ketamine will leave these populations with no alternative anesthesia for essential surgery, and will further deepen the already acute crisis of global surgery. Additional information about this proposal and ways in which you can help can be found in this blog. Next month we will feature a longer piece about this proposal.

January 30 marked the deadline for applications for IAHPC Traveling Scholarships to the World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care. We have 10 scholarships and received 26 applications, so selecting the grantees will be a difficult task. The grantees will be announced next month – many thanks to all those who participated and for their enthusiasm.

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair, Board of Directors

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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