Joint Press Release: WHO, Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance
(Embargoed until 28 January 2014)
Global atlas highlights unmet need for palliative care
NAIROBI: 28 January 2014– Only 1 in 10 people who need palliative care are currently receiving it, according to the Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life, published jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA).The Atlas is the first document to map the need for and availability of palliative care globally. The importance of this form of care is being emphasized by the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases 2013–2020 agreed on by WHO Member States in 2013.
Palliative care relieves the physical, psychosocial and spiritual suffering of patients with serious advanced illnesses and their families and is provided by teams of professionals and community volunteers.
About one third of those needing palliative care suffer from cancer. Others have progressive illnesses affecting their heart, lung, liver, kidney, brain, or chronic, life-threatening diseases including HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis.
It is estimated that every year over 20 million patients need palliative care at the end of life. Some 6% of these are children. The number of people requiring this sort of care rises to at least 40 million if those that could benefit from palliative care at an earlier stage of their life are included. If family members are also taken into consideration (hospice and palliative care always includes some aspects of care for multiple family members) the actual need could double or triple.
In 2011, approximately 3 million patients received palliative care, the vast majority at the end of their life. Although most palliative care is provided in high-income countries, almost 80% of the global need for palliative care is in low- and middle-income countries. Only 20 countries have palliative care well integrated into their healthcare systems.
“The Atlas shows that the great majority of the global need of end of life care is associated with non-communicable diseases. 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 illness who do not respond to curative treatment,” said Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.
The Atlas calls on all countries to include palliative care as an essential component to every modern healthcare system. This means addressing barriers such as:
- Lack of policies recognizing palliative care and the need for care both at the end of life and during progressive illnesses;
- Lack of resources to implement services, including access to essential medicines, especially pain relievers;
- Lack of education for health care professionals and members of the public about the benefits of palliative care.
“It is staggering that although 40 million people need some form of palliative care each year, 42% of countries still have no identified hospice and palliative care services. As Kenyans, we need to work together to ensure that our citizens have the best possible access to end-of-life care, no matter the illness,” stated Dr Zipporah Ali, Executive Director, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA). “The Atlas will be an invaluable tool in helping us advocate for this important issue.”
Last week, the Executive Board of the WHO called on Member States to strengthen palliative care as a component of integrated treatment throughout the life course and recommended that the 67th World Health Assembly adopts a resolution on the subject in May 2014.
Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020: http://www.who.int/nmh/events/ncd_action_plan/en/
To arrange an interview with Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association, please contact the Communications Officer on or 0202729302, Email: email@example.com
For more general information about the Atlas please contact:
Mr Glenn Thomas, Communications Officer/Spokesperson, WHO
Office: +41 22 791 3983, Mobile: +41 79 5090677, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Stephen Connor, Senior Fellow, WPCA
Tel. + 1 703 980 8737, Email: email@example.com
Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) is the umbrella body for all hospices and palliative care units in the county.
It was incepted in 2007 with the aim of championing palliative care in the country and advocate for development of policy governing end of life care.
Together with the Ministry of Health (MoH), KEHPCA has integrated palliative care services into 11 Level 5 Hospitals and integration to 30 additional district hospitals is in progress.
Recently, the MoH issued a directive to 15 District Hospitals to set aside space for establishment of a palliative care unit.
This integration aims at capturing the patient at the point of diagnosis, progressing to the point of termination of cure and proceeds to offer management for the patient’s symptoms during end of life.
Most Kenyans facing life threatening illnesses end up being referred to hospices and palliative care units when the diseases have advanced and cure rates are very minimal and therefore the only option they have is palliative care.
Since 2007, KEHPCA has been scaling up palliative care initiatives, a move that has seen the sites providing palliative care increase from 14 to over 45 to date and together with its members offering education to health care workers in the hospitals that have integrated and those in the process of integrating palliative care.
WHO is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. For more information on WHO go towww.who.int
The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) is a global action network focusing exclusively on hospice and palliative care development worldwide. Its members are national and regional hospice and palliative care organisations and affiliate organisations supporting hospice and palliative care. The WPCA is in official relations with the World Health Organization and this publication is one product of that relationship. WPCA is the international arm for www.ehospice.com, an international palliative care news and information service, and is the home for World Hospice and Palliative Care Day www.worldday.org. For more information on the WPCA go to www.thewpca.org
For Media inquiries contact;
KEHPCA Communications Officer
0725 695 896
Dr Zipporah Ali
KEHPCA Executive Director
0722 584 234, 0733 498 060
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Press Release: The World Health Organization publishes a Model List of Essential Medicines for Palliative Care
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published the new editions of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines for Adults and for Children. The new editions of the model lists include several changes, two of which are very important for the field of palliative care:
− The lists of medicines for palliative care which were originally located under the oncology section (8.4) have been moved to a new, separate section (section 2) called Medicines for Pain and Palliative Care. The new section 2 includes three subsections: Non opioids and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIMs); Opioid Analgesics; and Medicines for other symptoms common in palliative care.
− A list of medications used to treat the most common symptoms occurring in palliative care. The previous edition of the WHO Model List did not have any medications for palliative care for adults but the following statement:
Section 8.4 – Medicines used in palliative care
The WHO Expert Committee recognizes the importance of listing specific medicines in the Palliative Care Section. Some medicines currently used in palliative care are included in the relevant sections of the Model List, according to their therapeutic use, e.g. analgesics. The Guidelines for Palliative Care that were referenced in the previous list are in need of update. The Committee expects applications for medicines needed for palliative care to be submitted for the next meeting. For palliative care medicines in children, see the second EMLc.
Following the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) development of the IAHPC List of Medicines for Palliative Care in 2007 and a request from WHO, IAHPC submitted an application of medications for palliative care to be reviewed by the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines, which met in Geneva in April 2013. In addition, IAHPC also submitted to the WHO Secretariat, a request to move the palliative care list out of the oncology section.
To work on the application, IAHPC formed a working committee which included board members of IAHPC. The group was chaired by Dr. Lukas Radbruch and coordinated by Ms. Liliana De Lima. Additional members included Doctors Michael Bennett, James Cleary, David Currow, Arthur Lipman, and Roberto Wenk. Doctor Tania Pastrana (Germany) served as research adviser.
The new Pain and Palliative Care section in the WHO Model List includes 17 medications. The children’s Model List includes 14 medications. Both Model Lists can be downloaded from the WHO website here.
Dr. Roberto Wenk, chair of the IAHPC Board remarked “The provision of adequate palliative care is dependent on access to treatment and medications, and the inclusion of a list of medicines for palliative care in the WHO Model List will mark one of the greatest steps in improving care for patients with palliative care needs. We hope that governments and hospital administrators use the WHO Model List to ensure that medications needed for palliative care are available in institutions around the world.”.
Dr. Lukas Radbruch, Chair-elect of IAHPC stated that “the IAHPC will continue working in its effort to identify the most safe and effective medicines to treat the most common symptoms in palliative care as part of the organization’s mission to improve and facilitate appropriate policies for the development of palliative care in the world”.
Ms. Liliana De Lima, executive director of IAHPC remarked: “We are very grateful with the WHO Secretariat for its guidance in the application process and the members of the Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Medicines for their thorough review of the application and final decision. We are also very grateful with the individuals and organizations which supported the applications submitted by IAHPC to the WHO Secretariat”.
Endurance athlete Dr Andrew Murray embarks on a spectacular challenge across East Africa
Nairobi 5th July 2013: ULTRAMARATHON runner Dr Andrew Murray, 32, is coming to Kenya on 5th July for a month long visit to run at least one ultra marathon every day, including speedy hikes up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Mount Kenya.
He will be testing his medical skills just as much as his running talents when he travels around Africa to launch a major sports science study aimed at improving the health and fitness of Scots.
Dr Murray will be volunteering at local hospitals and conducting extensive research on the lifestyles and training methods of Kenya’s superstar distance runners when not on the road to learn some tips that could help Scots runners.
He said: “The whole idea is bringing together my affection for Kenya, with my passion for distance running. I would like to work out just how so many Kenyans are so fast and find out information that can help feed into our athletes going into the Commonwealth Games and beyond.
“Some of the stats on Kenyan running are just absurd, they have dominated distance running in every recent World Championship and Olympics, and out of the top 100 marathon runners in the world, 66 of them are from Kenya.
“There is a small town called Iten where of the 4,000 people who live there, 800 are professional runners, and those guys are constantly inspiring the next generation who see that running can be an escape from poverty.
“It’s amazing to have so many great runners coming from one area, and it’s something I really want to study. It’s not just about genetics. Paula Radcliffe is one of the greatest distance runners and has very different genetics from runners in Kenya, so it can be done.
Dr Murray became Scotland’s best known ultra distance man by making it all the way to the Sahara desert on foot, and then became a record breaker by running a race on the seven continents in less than a week.
His new adventure will see him run at a constant high altitude (higher than Ben Nevis) to run at least 50 km each day for 18 days, including several mountain ascents.
Dr Murray will be arriving in Nairobi on July 5th and staying with friends in Nairobi before heading to Chogoria Hospital to spend Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th.
The group will then head round the mountain by the North and plan to climb Mount Kenya on Tuesday 9th July 2013.
He will use this chance to publicize palliative care as he is doing some fundraising for the same and speaks very well about the role of exercise in palliative care.
Andrew said: “Despite penicillin, despite rescue helicopters and despite all the amazing medical inventions, the death rate is still 100 percent worldwide, and this is all about working to support people who are dying, and try to make it as pain free a process as possible.
“In some parts of Africa, it’s very difficult to get access to painkillers and a lot of people are dying in a lot of pain. There is good work happening in Africa, and I want to learn and share what we know in Scotland through the work of my Dad and other people like that.”
The group will be raising funds and awareness for African Palliative Care Association, to help stop people dying in pain. The University of Edinburgh currently has a large DFID funded project training nurses in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Zambia, and funds we get will go towards ensuring morphine is available in the Kenyan hospitals and communities where they work.
The training is conducted by Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) to nurses from Nyeri Provincial General Hospital (PGH), Homa Bay District Hospital and at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH). In addition KEHPCA has organized trainings in healthcare providers where palliative care has been integrated.
They will also be taking vital medical supplies to Chogoria Hospital that has since integrated palliative care, where they used to work as missionary doctors (microscopes, stethoscopes, auroscopes, opthalmoscopes, BNF’s)
“It was a completely different way of life to grow up with, and we loved it. I have been back a few times working in the hospital myself and it’s a lot of hard work because if you think the NHS is stretched, then in Kenya it’s often two to a bed.
Andrew, who will be joined by Scottish 100km running champion and former Royal Marine Donnie Campbell on his trek, will be hoping to pick some important information to take back to his colleagues at the Scottish Institute of Sport.
For the last two years, the Edinburgh based doctor and healthy lifestyles advocate has been one of the best known extreme runners in the world, ever since he ran 2,659 miles from John O’ Groats to the Sahara Desert.
The Murray clan will be taking a load of medical equipment with them, and working in local hospitals and endeavouring to raise awareness and as much money as possible for the African Palliative Care Association, which helps ease the suffering of terminally ill patients.
To find out more about Andrew’s fundraising drive, visit www.docandrewmurray.com, view a two minute promo video here, sponsor via the Just Giving Website and follow his activities on twitter @Docandrewmurray.
Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) represents Hospices and Palliative care service providers and health care professionals in Kenya. The aim of the association is to scale up Palliative Care services in the country to bridge the very significant gap between those who get the services and those in need of the services. KEHPCA’s mission is to promote and support acceptable, accessible and affordable quality Palliative Care throughout Kenya. KEHPCA works with the media to advocate for and promote wider awareness of the issues surrounding hospices and palliative care:
Find out more – short film
Frontline Palliative Care is a specially produced film exploring the experiences of staff and patients at four of Kenya’s Hospices, from Nairobi to the nomadic Lakipia plains, and the pioneering work they are doing within palliative care. The film depicts why KEHPCA’s mission and vision remain so important in supporting patients with life limiting illnesses in Kenya.
Images for Press Use
We have a number of print quality images of hospice and palliative care in Kenya available for press use. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with image requests.
To download past KEHPCA press releases click here
For recent news stories, visit the KEHPCA blog
Citizen Radio Coverage of the completion of 11 Government hospital Trainings
Dr. Zipporah Ali on BBC World Service Debate on Assisted Dying – Heart and Soul Programme
Nakuru Hospice – Woman helps establish hospice after loss of father
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