Over 70 participants representing governments and civil society organisations from all over the world met today at the 66th World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss global challenges and developments in palliative care.
Co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Panama, USA and Uganda, together with several civil society organisations including Human Rights Watch, the World Palliative Care Association and UICC, the side event brought together a diverse panel of speakers, moderated by Cary Adams, UICC CEO.
Dr Serafin Sanchez, Deputy Minister of Health of Panama opened the session by recalling that more than 50 million people need palliative care every year. Prof Moreira, head of Pediatric Oncology at Hopital Le Dantec in Senegal stressed the grave disparities in access to palliative care between high- and low- income countries, and highlighted the particular challenges associated with providing palliative care to children.
Panellists from Malaysia (Dr. Mary Cardosa, Immediate Past President of the Malaysian Medical Association) and Nigeria (Dr. Idrisa, Commissioner for Health, Kogi Region) shared examples of good practices in their countries including the progress made through UICC’s GAPRI programme in Nigeria to increase supply of and access to morphine (http://www.gapri.org/nigeria). “We need models of care for low-and middle- income countries,” said Dr Beard, Director of the Dept of Ageing and Life Course at WHO. “We also need to look at training, and ensure that palliative care is an integrated part of health curricula”.
UICC used the occasion of the side event to launch a new briefing paper on access to pain relief highlighting the results of a recent study on global access to opioids led by the European Society for Medical Oncologists (ESMO), available for download here.
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