Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2020; Volume 21, No 11, November

Dear Readers:

October, IAHPC Members’ Recognition month, reminded us just how much IAHPC benefits every day from the hard work of our members, who are devoted to the advancement of hospice and palliative care both in their own communities and worldwide. Members exemplify a continuing commitment to improving patient care, expanding education, and promoting favorable policies consistent with our mission. To celebrate our members, IAHPC awards two prizes in October: 1) Recognizing Loyalty, and 2) Increasing Membership.

We are delighted to inform our readers that the Panamanian Association for Palliative Care (APCP) won the loyalty award, which is drawn at random from the pool of current members who have belonged to IAHPC for at least three consecutive years. The APCP has been a loyal member since 2015. Congratulations to the APCP and many thanks to the board and its President, Dr. Nisla Camaño, for their continued support.

Dr. Steven Radwany, who referred five new members this year, won the Increasing Membership award. As a member of our Board of Directors, “Skip” is unable to accept the cash award, and has asked us to put the $1,000 USD prize toward funding a future IAHPC Scholar from a low- or middle-income country.

Saturday, October 10, was World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, a wonderful global awareness campaign coordinated by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA) with the support of palliative care patients, providers, and families throughout the world. The theme of this year’s event, “My Care, My Comfort,” aimed to communicate that palliative care is needed to relieve the health-related suffering of millions of patients.

An important aspect of the theme is that, together, every person impacted by a life-limiting illness can help to influence policy makers – particularly by contributing their personal stories — to prioritize palliative care policies and financing under Universal Health Coverage (UHC). [Board member Gulnara Kunirova’s Featured Story offers effective advocacy arguments.] Palliative care is an essential component of UHC, which according to the World Health Organization, includes promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative health services. “It’s not UHC without palliative care” the slogan goes, indicating that governments wishing to achieve the goals and targets of Agenda 2030 would leave patients and their families behind.

On a related note, many countries are reporting COVID-19 spikes, increased hospitalizations, and more deaths. We urge governments to include palliative care in their national responses, so that patients and families receive the care they need. Even as we celebrate our amazing members, in appreciation for all that they have done, we also urge them to advocate with their governments to develop comprehensive preparedness plans.

As we know so well, palliative care is critical for the relief of health-related suffering and should always be incorporated in the training of all health care workers and professionals. IAHPC is advocating for this at the 73rd World Health Assembly, taking place as this newsletter goes to press. See here for our statement.

Until next month,

Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair Board of Directors

Liliana De Lima, MHA
Executive Director

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