Dear Friends of IAHPC,
As we write this message the year is coming to an end, a new year is approaching, and we take time to reflect upon the many blessings we enjoy: our members, colleagues, donors, and friends, as well as the countless patients and families around the globe whom we have had the privilege to serve and support. It is in this spirit that we say thank you for the accomplishments we were able to achieve and the progress advancing our mission. Please take a few minutes to watch our Thank You video.
Here is a brief summary of some of the highlights of our programs during 2017:
Our IAHPC advocacy strategy — led by Dr. Katherine Pettus, the IAHPC Advocacy Officer, and in collaboration with colleagues from other palliative care organizations — to increase awareness and improve policies related to access to essential medicines for pain relief and palliative care, as well as policies to improve and increase care provision at the patient level, have led to significant results. The advocacy workshops we implemented in countries in Latin America had concrete, positive results, such as the empowerment of national palliative care associations to engage with their governments to bring about positive changes in their national laws and regulations. This engagement, in turn, resulted in the request by government representatives from Argentina, Ecuador, Panama, and Peru in international meetings calling for the inclusion of palliative care in the WHO General Program of Work for 2019-2023. In 2018 we will continue working in partnership with the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network, and the regional palliative care organizations from Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. IAHPC continues to raise awareness about the inclusion of palliative care in the WHO definition of universal health coverage as well as prepare for UNGASS (United Nations General Assembly Special Session) 2019.
We continue to increase the IAHPC presence in social media. You can like us on Facebook, check us out on LinkedIn, follow us on Twitter @IAHPC, and visit the IAHPC YouTube channel. These exciting resources offer new and increased opportunities for collaboration, networking, and support — so many ways to keep connected, and learn how you can help and participate!
The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief Report was published in October 2017. Both of us and other IAHPC board members are part of the Commission. The Commission was led by Professor Felicia Knaul, from the University of Miami, and is the result of a three-year project involving 61 co-authors from 25 countries. This edition features an interview with Dr. Knaul and describes the main findings and recommendations of the report as well as the plans for the implementation of the recommendations in 2018.
As in the past, we will continue to support the development of palliative care education, research, and practice around the world. This year, we will be participating in and providing Traveling Scholarships to several congresses, including the IX Congress of the Latin American Association for Palliative Care (ALCP) in Santiago, Chile on April 11-14; the 10th World Research Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) in Bern, Switzerland on May 23-26; the 3rd International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) Conference in Durban, South Africa on May 30-June 2; and the 14th Global Conference on Ageing sponsored by the International Federation on Ageing, in Toronto, Canada on August 8-10. In addition to providing scholarships, we will have an IAHPC booth in the exhibit area at each of these conferences where we will provide information to participants and offer the opportunity to join IAHPC with discounts in membership fees.
Throughout 2018 we will continue collaborating with regional and national associations to implement workshops in selected countries to review and revise the laws and regulations on access to essential medicines, opioids in particular. Media reports on the opioid crisis in the USA and a few other countries (Canada, Australia, UK) show that the pendulum is swinging, and several countries are enacting new laws and regulations that interfere with medical decisions. In collaboration with other organizations and academia, we will implement workshops in India in February and in Colombia in April to generate a balanced approach to the distribution, prescription, dispensation, and use of opioids, in order to prevent diversion for non-medical use while at the same time, ensure access to patients with legitimate medical needs.
The end of the year marked the expiration of IAHPC membership for many of you. Individuals and institutions whose membership is about to expire should have received reminders by mail. If your membership expired and has not been renewed, please remember to sign up. Membership benefits includes full online access to palliative care journals, the ability to participate in research projects, and the opportunity to apply for financial support to advance your palliative care knowledge and skills. In addition, membership dues are very important to IAHPC, as they help us to continue our mission to help others.
We appreciate the confidence that all of our donors, members, and readers have placed in us and in our work. We will strive to be better each day and look forward to working with you in 2018. We hope that this New Year brings happiness, peace, and health to you and your loved ones.
Until next month,
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair, Board of Directors
Liliana De Lima, MHA