Guest Advocacy column

2021; Volume 22, No 3, March
Nadezhda Kozachenko (left) and Gulnara Kunirova, cofounders of the Kazakhstan Association for Palliative Care. Photo used with permission.

Recommendations from the Kazakhstan Palliative Care Conference

By Gulnara Kunirova
IAHPC Board Member; cofounder and president, Kazakhstan Association for Palliative Care

The theme of the 6th annual national palliative care conference in Kazakhstan, held in February, was "Palliative Care: Global Agenda and Kazakhstan Realities.”

Palliative Care In Kazakhstan Now

Despite its growing demand, palliative care continues to be a poorly accessible service in Kazakhstan. According to estimates by the World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance, 107,430 patients with incurable forms of cancer, cardiovascular, endocrine, bronchopulmonary, hematological, neurological and other diseases, severe trauma and organ failure, are in need of palliative care in our country. Of these, 4,900 are children and adolescents.

The joint efforts of NGOs, Parliament, and the Ministry of Health, as well as professional palliative care community and oncologists, undertaken in the past few years, have made it possible to improve the regulatory framework, train employees of medical organizations, and expand the infrastructure. Nevertheless, there remains a need for further integration of palliative care into the health care system and social protection of the population, as well as improving its quality for both inpatients and outpatients, for oncological and non-oncological patients, and especially children.

This conference brought together a record number of participants—815 people from Kazakhstan, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. The qualitative composition of the participants also expanded. It included doctors, nurses, psychologists, and specialists in social work and the administration of primary health care and oncology medical organizations, as well as employees of special social services, educational institutions and nongovernmental organizations.

Work done at the conference has resulted in a resolution with six recommendations for the development of palliative care in Kazakhstan.

Five busy days of the conference included thematic sections, training webinars, and discussions. Invited speakers included leading international experts who form world policy in the field of palliative care for adults and children, as well as Kazakhstani specialists.

Webinar topics included:

Thematic sections included:

Plenary session. Palliative care in the world and in Kazakhstan: modern challenges.
Section 1. Organization of palliative care in a hospital setting.
Section 2. Organization of palliative care at home.
Section 3. Palliative care for the elderly. Palliative care within the framework of special social services.
Section 4. Organization of palliative care for children.

The conference also included round-table discussions on the most pressing topics:

The conference was organized by the Kazakhstan Association for Palliative Care in cooperation with the Kazakh Research Institute of Oncology and Radiology, with the support of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Soros—Kazakhstan Foundation, the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, and Together Against Cancer.

Ms. Gulnara Kunirova has been a board member of IAHPC since 2019. Read her bio.

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