Pressing need: Raising awareness on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018

13th October 2018

Welcome to World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018! World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care around the world.

Promoted by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance the day aims to increase the availability of hospice and palliative care throughout the world, create opportunities to speak out about the issues, raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, social, practical, spiritual – of people living with a life limiting illness and their families & to raise funds to support and develop hospice and palliative care services around the world.

One of the most pressing issues in developing countries is access to pain-relieving medications, as highlighted by The Lancet Commission in their report on Palliative Care and Pain Relief—findings, recommendations, and future directions published in March of this year.

“The burden of serious health-related suffering is huge and could in large part be alleviated with palliative care and pain relief.

“About 25·5 million of 56·2 million people who died in 2015 experienced serious health-related suffering, and another 35·5 million experienced serious health-related suffering due to life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.

“A disproportionate number (more than 80%) of these 61 million individuals live in low-income and middle-income countries with severely limited access to any palliative care, even oral morphine for pain relief.

“Furthermore, nearly 2·5 million children worldwide die in need of palliative care and pain relief, and more than 90% of paediatric deaths associated with serious health-related suffering are avoidable.”

Pic: From the Lancet Commission, showing the disproportionate distribution of opioid pain-killers globally (opioid morphine-equivalent (morphine in mg/patient in need of palliative care, average 2010–13) and estimated percentage of need that is met for the health conditions most associated with serious health-related suffering.