Message from the Chair and Executive Director

2021; Volume 22, No 5, May

Hello Readers,

First of all, we are sorry to see the suffering that our colleagues and friends in India are going through as its health system and pharmaceutical industry face challenges under the latest COVID assault. As many of you may know, India is the source of raw materials for many of the analgesics and essential medicines for pain relief and palliative care. COVID is disrupting the supply of morphine and other Indian-manufactured opiates required to control extreme pain and manage COVID-19 breathlessness for patients around the world. We hope that situation is resolved soon, with the support and collaboration of other countries that are faring much better.

On a positive note, last month we cohosted a palliative care dialogue with World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros and representatives of civil society organizations.

This roundtable was organized by the IAHPC in collaboration with the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance and the International Federation on Ageing. All members of civil society organizations (CSOs) were invited.

Palliative care providers and people with palliative care needs addressed the following palliative care topics, which relate to the WHO 13th General Program of Work and its “Triple Billion Targets.”

Dr. Tedros (lower left) and speakers at the palliative care roundtable on April 28.

Speakers included Ms. Victoria Diehl (Costa Rica), Dr. Felicia Knaul (USA and Mexico), Dr. Farzana Khan (Bangladesh), Dr. Carlos Centeno (Spain), Dr. Silvia Librada Flores (Spain), and Ms. Zodwa Sithole (South Africa).

It was wonderful to have this second dialogue with Dr. Tedros, and it was inspiring to witness his understanding and willingness to collaborate. We will continue to work with our civil society partners to help and support the WHO with our expertise and guidance, an appropriate manifestation of our five-year plan to advance palliative care

We are grateful to the speakers for accepting our invitation to contribute to the roundtable, for offering their time and effort in this advocacy for equitable access to palliative care during these challenging times. Each presentation complemented the others, and the moderators drew the threads together very skillfully in their closing remarks!

And at the end of May we will participate in the virtual World Health Assembly (WHA), and our advocacy Focal Points will be our IAHPC delegates. Keep your eyes on upcoming newsletters for their statements and reports!

Until next month,

Lukas and Liliana

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