Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life
(2014; 111 pages)

Abstract

The WHO, together with its partners, is working on the implementation of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013-2020. While we join efforts to reduce the burden of the biggest killers in the world today, we must also alleviate the suffering of those with progressive illnesses so their quality of life is improved. This joint WHO-WPCA publication is an outstanding example of collaborative effort to position palliative care higher in the global and national health agendas. The great majority of palliative care need is associated with noncommunicable diseases.

The Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life is an excellent tool to advocate for the inclusion of palliative in the global, regional and national health agendas. In its Chapter 2, WHO provides for the first time quantitative estimates on the need of palliative care for adults and children. Each year around 20 million people need end of life palliative care, including 6% that are children. These are low level estimates because around 20 million more require palliative care in the years before death. The numbers are huge and so is the unmet need as only a few countries have implemented equitable palliative care programs through a public health approach. Moreover, in many countries opioid analgesics are not available or accessible to the majority of patients suffering moderate or severe pain.

In January 2014 the WHO Executive Board will address the need for taking global and national action for the integration of palliative care into health systems. A group of Member States is supporting this initiative and the WHO secretariat has developed a comprehensive report that includes the global estimates.

 
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