Why palliative care is important?
Palliative care is a crucial part of integrated, people-centred health services (IPCHS). Nothing is more people-centred than relieving their suffering, be it physical, psychological, social, or spiritual. Thus, whether the cause of suffering is cancer or major organ failure, drug-resistant tuberculosis or severe burns, end-stage chronic illness or acute trauma, extreme birth prematurity or extreme frailty of old age, palliative care may be needed and integrated at all levels of care
Palliative Care, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The 2030 Agenda slogan ‘Leave no-one behind’ means that governments trying to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3 must develop palliative care policies to cover the 40 million persons (a total that includes at least 20 million carers) who require palliative care support globally. Currently, fewer than 10% of patient who need palliative care in low and middle-income countries receive it.
Palliative care as human right
Access to pain and symptom control is part of the fundamental right to health.
Palliative care: the challenges for health system
Health systems need to provide access to palliative care at primary and secondary levels and thus need to ensure that professionals receive appropriate training in this area.
Integration of palliative care programs into the health systems
Palliative care programmes need to be adapted to the specific health system and cultural context in each country. Different models can be envisaged depending on the specific settings.
Key WHO resources
Partners (WHO CCs and NGOs)
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Training in Hospice & Palliative Care - Korea
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Cancer Control and Prevention - Korea
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Palliative care, policy and rehabilitation - UK
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Pain Policy and Palliative Care - USA
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Public Health Palliative Care Programmes - Spain
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Community Participation in Palliative Care and Long term Care - India
- WHO Collaborating Centre for Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief - India
- International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care Inc. (IAHPC)
- The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA)