Bridging Gaps in Access to Palliative Care

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‘Global access to palliative care and pain relief’ chaired by David Hill, Cancer Council Victoria (Australia) with presentations by Asfan Bhadelia, Eric Krakauer, M. R. Rajagopal and Stephen Connor.

2nd October 2018, 9:30am-11:00am.

On the second day of the World Cancer Congress, discussions were made on alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief. The speakers acknowledged the issue of unmet needs to palliative care, especially in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). It was emphasised that  80% of the decedents who are in need of palliative care come from LMIC but the poorest 10% of countries and people of the world have access to only 10 mg morphine-equivalent per patient in need of palliative care. Interventions including the Essential Package were discussed. The Essential Package, which contains the most basic of medicines, equipment and human resources, is aimed to be made accessible to all patients in need and their families in efforts to relieve, in the most cost-effective way, the burden of SHS. It is expected to be in place before 2030 to align with the SDG Target.  M. R. Rajagopal called for global health systems to accept suffering as a focus and start strategising to reduce this global burden. Finally Stephen Connor highlighted palliative care as a poverty-reduction strategy.

Article contributed by Putri Jasmine Filza Firdaus