Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2019; Volume 20, No 10, October

Message from the Chair and Executive Director

Dear Readers:

October is Member Appreciation Month, when we celebrate the support we receive from individuals and institutions around the world by giving away prizes in two categories: one to recognize loyalty among current members who have kept their membership active for at least two consecutive years, and one for those who successfully inspire others to join. See the Announcement section for details.

Liliana (far left) and IAHPC Research Adviser Tania Pastrana (far right) with IAHPC Traveling Scholarship recipients: B. Sunil S. De Silva (Sri Lanka), M.K.D. Lalitha Meegoda (Sri Lanka), Jennifer Lowe (Australia), and Moelagi Leilani Jackson (Samoa).

We hope that you will take advantage of this opportunity by continuing to support IAHPC and our mission to promote and advance palliative care globally.

Saturday, October 12 is World Hospice Palliative Care Day, a great campaign coordinated by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance with the support of the global palliative care community. The theme this year — “My Care, My Right”—aims to communicate that the public can demand palliative care, and that, together, every person impacted by a life-limiting illness can influence their policy makers to prioritize palliative care financing under Universal Health Coverage.

This year's World Hospice Palliative Care Day comes right after the UN High-level Meeting that, on September 23, adopted a landmark declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) that includes palliative care! A key action for the October 12 campaign will be to call on governments to listen to people who need palliative care or access to it, and support the inclusion of essential medicines for palliative care in all national UHC schemes.

“My Care, My Right” will address the importance of mobilizing communities, particularly volunteers, to ensure that patients’ right to care are supported. Specifically, it addresses the question that, if care is a patient's right, how can UHC support carers to improve patients’ well-being under Sustainable Development Goal 3.8?

Many organizations throughout the world are planning celebrations to increase awareness among laypeople, governments, and patients that palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and families, and that appropriate policies and funding mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure access to palliative care for those in need. More about October 12, the initiatives taking place around the world, photos, and resources are on the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance website.

To celebrate World Hospice Palliative Care Day, the IAHPC is pleased to announce — together with the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (UMIA) and the Mexican Health Foundation (FUNSALUD) — we are launching a platform to facilitate access to the data produced by the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief for advocates, academics, public health experts, and policy makers. The platform, created by researchers at UMIA and FUNSALUD, will enable users to calculate serious health-related suffering and the need for palliative care by income and geographic region for a vast number of countries. The platform will be housed within the IAHPC website as a service to the global palliative care community. Keep your eyes open for the special announcement before the end of the week!

Last month we went to Perth, Australia, to attend the Oceanic Palliative Care Conference, where we led a workshop on international collaboration, and had a booth in the exhibit area where we met our members in the Pacific Region.

Participants to the IAHPC Workshop on Global Collaboration to advance palliative care.
Meet the Expert session with IAHPC Board Member Dr. Ahmed Ebtesam, PharmD, and colleagues from the U.S., Rwanda, and Australia.

The conference drew more than 1,000 participants from the Oceanic region, and we were delighted to meet face-to-face with both our colleagues on the other side of the world and the IAHPC grantees awarded Traveling Scholarships to attend the conference. Several of us traveled to Perth representing IAHPC: myself (Liliana), Board Member Ebtesam Ahmed, Research Advisor Tania Pastrana, and office staffers Genevieve Napier and Julia Libreros. We are very grateful Dr. Odette Spruyt — an IAHPC longtime member who has contributed greatly to the development of palliative care in the Pacific region, in India, and other countries — for her contributions to and participation in the workshop. We are also very grateful to the leadership of Palliative Care Australia for giving us the opportunity to work together: we hope that the conference will serve to advance the field in many islands and regions where it is still not available.

Many thanks to all our members across the globe for your efforts to relieve suffering!

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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