Welcome to our last issue of this year's newsletter.
As this incredibly challenging year ends, we are proud of what we were able to accomplish through our programs and projects, and of the support we were able to give to providers, policy makers, and stakeholders to advance our mission. The activities, initiatives, statements, and resources we implemented throughout the year all aimed to relieve serious health-related suffering and improve the quality of life of patients and families around the world.
We — like our colleagues everywhere – had to adapt to new situations, facing the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. This pandemic hurt us in many ways, but it also forced us to change and adapt to unforeseeable circumstances.
We had to make changes, including postponing the GLAD program to 2021 and modifying the Traveling Scholarships. During this process, we also learned a lot and are proud of our ability to achieve new things, including much-improved webinar hosting skills, online course provision, and digital networking. Examples of our achievements include our virtual participation in the World Health Assembly, co-organizing the COVID-19 and Palliative Care Series, and IAHPC’s amazingly active group of advocacy focal points under the leadership of Katherine Pettus.
We closed the year on two positive notes: co-convening a roundtable of palliative care civil society representatives with WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, partnering with the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance and the International Federation on Ageing. The objectives were to provide opportunities for an open discussion, and to identify priorities and areas of work to advance the implementation and uptake of several WHO resolutions relevant to palliative care. The roundtable went very well, and we were delighted to hear strong support given by Dr. Tedros on behalf of the WHO Secretariat. The DG committed to advancing and supporting palliative care integration, improving access to essential medicines for pain relief and palliative care, and publishing updated opioid guidelines to replace those that were withdrawn two years ago. And earlier this month, as an ECOSOC accredited organization, we were invited to participate in the UN General Assembly Special Session 30 on COVID-19. Two of our board members, Ms. Harmala Gupta and Dr. Ebtesam (Sammi) Ahmed, represented the IAHPC in the session. We hope that our intervention will lead to the inclusion of palliative care in the outcome document.
We could not have achieved all the above and much more without the generous support from our board of directors, members, donors, and the foundations and other organizations that contribute in so many ways. All our donors and supporters believe in IAHPC’s mission and in our vision of a world free of health-related suffering. Our ability to continue to help others depends heavily on the support we receive from all, so please consider donating to IAHPC, which can be done through our website.
The long-term sustainability of the IAHPC is one of the many challenges we face at the moment. We are aware that there are financial constraints, and we have prepared ourselves to meet these challenges. Our strong commitment to supporting the development of palliative care around the world will continue to be our driving force. We wish to thank all those who make our work worthwhile — the patients and their families, the health care workers, and the volunteers who dedicate and give so much to palliative care.
We are also extremely grateful to our small staff of workers who continue to do their job tirelessly to ensure that IAHPC achieves its mission and delivers its promises. And to our board of directors for their guidance and wisdom in helping us do our jobs better.
Best wishes to all of you, your friends, and family members for the coming holidays. We hope that next year will bring happiness and success to all.
Lukas Radbruch, MD
Chair Board of Directors
Liliana De Lima, MHA