New readers of this newsletter will be astonished — and regular readers amazed anew — at the inspirational work being done by palliative care providers around the world, particularly in resource-challenged countries, to develop palliative care to relieve the suffering of patients and their loved ones.
Palliative care is on the march from Honduras, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, to Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is nourished by the generosity and commitment of extraordinary people who are convinced that palliative care can help patients and families, people who are not waiting for ‘someone else’ or their governments to do the work. This generosity and commitment shines through the reports of palliative care workers who have benefited from IAHPC scholarships to attend global conferences and learn from their colleagues around the world (see Grants in Action).
But it is time for governments to assume more responsibility for the training, health systems strengthening, and medicines availability desperately needed in so many countries. This will only come about through the coordinated advocacy of patients, palliative care providers, and policy experts (as described in Policy and Advocacy). The September 2019 High Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage is an opportunity to add yet another layer to the political pallium advocates can use to hold their lawmakers accountable. It is now established in international law that patients and families have a right to palliative care, provided routinely as part of primary health care, not randomly or as a matter of charity. Yet the vast majority of patients, policymakers, and providers around the world don’t know what palliative care is, let alone that patients have a right to it.
IAHPC is working with our partners and members to raise awareness, educational levels, funds, and most of all the spirits of anyone willing to join this evolving and healing discipline. We welcome your comments and participation, as we can’t do this without you!
Dr. Katherine Pettus
IAHPC Advocacy Officer for Palliative Care Medicines
Editor’s note: A message from Chair of the Board Lukas Radbruch and Executive Director Liliana De Lima will return to this space next month, after a well-deserved break.