Global Data Platform to calculate SHS and Palliative Care Need

This platform to facilitate access to the data produced by the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief (LCGAPR) was released as a service to the global palliative care community by the IAHPC together with the University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas (UMIA), and the Mexican Health Foundation (FUNSALUD). The platform, created by researchers at UMIA and FUNSALUD, works in Tablea and enables users to calculate serious health related suffering (SHS) and the need for palliative care by income and geographic region for a vast number of countries.

The data come from the LCGPAR Report "Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief—an imperative of universal health coverage"1 and an extensive data appendix2. The LCGAPR report aims to (1) quantify the heavy burden of serious health-related suffering associated with a need for palliative care and pain relief; (2) identify and cost an essential package of palliative care and pain relief health services that would alleviate this burden; (3) measure the unmet need of an indispensable component of the package—off patent, oral, and injectable morphine; and (4) outline national and global health-systems strategies to expand access to palliative care and pain relief as an integral component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

SHS is associated with illness or injury of any kind that could be alleviated by palliative care or pain treatment. The LCGAPR developed a framework for measuring the global burden of SHS across 20 life-limiting and life-threatening conditions most associated with a need for palliative care, and 15 associated physical and psychological symptoms.

The massive scale of human suffering uncovered by the LCGAPR, demonstrated the enormous need for palliative care and pain relief in our world. In 2015, more than 61 million people experienced SHS that could be ameliorated by palliative care and pain relief. These individuals suffered at least 6 billion physical and psychological symptom days. Over 80% of this SHS burden occurred in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where access to palliative care, even oral immediate-release morphine for pain relief, is extremely limited. Every year almost 2.5 million children die with SHS and more than 98% of these children are from LMICs. A large proportion of the current SHS burden is associated with non-communicable chronic diseases such as cancer, dementia, cerebrovascular disease, and lung disease, a burden that will only increase as populations age. Globally, approximately 15 million cancer patients experience SHS every year.

1 Knaul FM, Farmer PE, Krakauer EL, et al. Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief-an imperative of universal health coverage: The Lancet Commission report. Lancet 2018; 391(10128): 1391-454 http://www.thelancet.com/commissions/palliative-care

2 Knaul FM, Farmer PE, Krakauer EL, De Lima L, Bhadelia A, Jiang Kwete X, Arreola-Ornelas H, et. al. Technical Note and Data Appendix for “Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief—an imperative of universal health coverage: The Lancet Commission report”. Background Document. Miami: University of Miami Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. Available at: https://miami.edu/lancet


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