Palliative care – the key facts

In September 2011, the United Nations hosted its second only Heads of State summit on health. The topic was non-communicable diseases. The four major disease streams were cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, cancer and diabetes.

Each of these diseases has a group of people who will experience progressive disease with an increasing symptom burden. This burden will be seen in resource poor countries in increasing numbers in the decades ahead.

The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) was active in advocating for good palliative care as part of the key planning that needs to be done. There was a small committee with representatives from around the globe who put together key fact sheets. Sadly the final communiqué of the summit only mentioned palliative once, but the resources developed are now being made widely available. They can be downloaded here and here, and focus on the practical things that can be done at a policy level to improve palliative care at a jurisdictional level.

Posted by David Currow, Professor, Flinders University, Australia.

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