May was a very busy month! First, the 72nd World Health Assembly (WHA) took place in Geneva, Switzerland. The WHA is the decision-making body of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by its Executive Board and representatives of NGOs in formal relations with WHO. The main functions of the WHA are to determine the policies of the organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed program budget. During WHA72, Member States in attendance agreed on three universal health coverage (UHC) resolutions. The resolutions focus on primary health care, the role of community health workers, and the September UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on universal health coverage. IAHPC and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) were present, raising the palliative care flag.
In addition to Dr. Katherine Pettus, the IAHPC delegation included David Delgado, Harleen Gill, Erlinda Laska, and Angelica Lewis, students from the Master’s in Public Health program at the University of California in Los Angeles. We were honored to be represented by such an amazing and enthusiastic group. Katherine was there to lead, help, and guide everyone. Her column and their report include some amazing reflections and summary of the outcomes and discussions, as well as future steps. Thanks to their advocacy and interventions as well as those by the delegation from the WHPCA, palliative care was mentioned several times.
During the WHA the IAHPC organized a side event called ‘Palliative Care and Universal Health Coverage: A Component of Primary Health Care.’ We are very grateful to the panel speakers [listed in Katherine’s column], and to WHO Assistant Director General Dr. Mariangela Simao for chairing the discussion. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with our partner civil society organizations, the academia and the WHO.
We also traveled to Berlin in May to attend the 10th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC). Lukas gave a presentation during the opening plenary and provided insight into global palliative care development, including the challenges of having different concepts and definitions. We had a lot of fun during the cocktail reception for the IAHPC Traveling Scholarship grantees.
Congratulations to our grantees! We look forward to their reports and continued collaboration
As at previous congresses, we had an IAHPC booth in the exhibit area. Many thanks to all of you who stopped over to join, renew your membership, or just say hello! It was great to see so much enthusiasm and collaboration among the international palliative care community.
During the Congress, the EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe was launched. This project, led by the University of Navarra ATLANTES team, was under the leadership of Prof. Carlos Centeno and coordinated by Dr. Natalia Arias. The EAPC Atlas of Palliative Care in Europe 2019 is an initiative commissioned by the EAPC Task Force on Palliative Care Development in Europe and implemented by ATLANTES researchers. Scientific advice was provided by the IAHPC and the WHO regional office in Europe. You can download the publication here.
An important recognition we wish to highlight is that the EAPC Award was given to Dr. Centeno. He was chosen as the recipient for this award for his dedication to palliative care research and, in particular, his contribution to the mapping and monitoring systems of palliative care development, through the Atlases of Palliative Care in Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean regions. Congratulations to Dr. Centeno for this well-deserved award!! Your vision to develop regional atlases has helped the global palliative care community in amazing ways! During his speech, Dr. Centeno stated: ‘My dream is to have palliative care implemented in all health care related careers in all universities.’ We agree!! And hope that your dream comes true!
After the EAPC Congress, the IAHPC board and staff members met to work on our next five-year strategic plan. We had one-and-a-half days to cover a lot of territory and we did it, thanks to the excellent facilitating skills of our friend and colleague Dr. Faith Mwangi-Powell. She kept us on track and was incredibly gracious and effective when there was no consensus. Many thanks, Faith!!
Using the responses from our members we revised the mission and vision statements, identified the themes of work and priorities and decided on the steps to follow. In a few days we will be announcing some exciting changes, so keep your eyes open!
Until next month,
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Liliana De Lima, MHA