GENEVA 23 May 2014
The ICPCN welcomes the landmark resolution that was passed unanimously at the 67th session of the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland that will encourage all member states to take a greater interest in palliative care, including palliative care for children.
The key functions of the World Health Assembly (WHA) held each year in Geneva, Switzerland, is to determine policies of the World Health Organization (WHO), to appoint the Director-General, to supervise financial policies and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
This year, for the first time ever, the WHA has passed a resolution on palliative care calling on all member states to:
- Develop, strengthen and implement palliative care policies
- Support palliative care initiatives including education and training, quality improvement and availability of medicines essential for the provision of palliative care
- Provide support to caregivers
- Include palliative care as a part of integrated training for all healthcare workers who routinely work with people with serious illness
- Ensure access to essential medications
- Foster partnerships between government and civil society to increase access to palliative care
Leaders within the global palliative care community are optimistic that this resolution will initiate the development of structured standards and guidelines for palliative care, including palliative care for children, as set by the World Health Organization.
The ICPCN feels that this resolution will also strengthen both local and national advocacy efforts for the development of paediatric services. It not only signals that palliative care for all ages should be taken seriously but also calls upon countries to include palliative care in their healthcare budgets.
While the WHO cannot enforce decisions made at the WHA the passing of this resolution means that all member states will be obliged to provide a statistical reports on the progress of palliative care within their borders.
From Geneva, where she is attending the WHA and has been a vocal advocate for the inclusion of children in the conversations on palliative care, ICPCN’s CEO Joan Marston had this to say: “This is an historic moment for palliative care, with recognition by the World Health Assembly that palliative care is an essential part of health systems in every country. But it is only the beginning of our work. We now have to ensure the resolution is put into practice in order to reach the millions of children living with life-limiting conditions around the world. For these children and their families, we must continue to work together and use all our commitment, compassion and energy to relieve their suffering and to make life worth living.”