NCDs, Pain, Palliative Care

Palliative Care in the UN Summit on NCDs: A little goes a long way! Lifebeforedeath Film 18


The UN Declaration on Non-Communicable Disease is in!  OK, it is going to be discussed and ratified at the meeting from Sept 19-20 in New York but the negotiation have concluded and it is all but complete.  But palliative care is in. Yes 4 places!!  You make think that this is not much but the inclusion of palliative care was one of those contentious issues. Here they are:

  • 34b: Pursue, as appropriate, comprehensive strengthening of health systems that support primary health care, deliver effective, sustainable and coordinated responses and evidence-based, cost-effective, equitable and integrated essential services for addressing NCD risk factors and for prevention, treatment and care of NCDs, acknowledging the importance of promoting patient empowerment, rehabilitation and palliative care for persons with NCDs, and of a life course approach given the often chronic nature of NCDs;
  • 34c: According to national priorities, and taking into account domestic circumstances, increase and prioritize budgetary allocations for addressing NCD risk factors and for surveillance, prevention, early detection, and treatment of NCDs, and the related care and support including palliative care;
  • 34l: According to national priorities, give greater priority to surveillance, early detection, screening, diagnosis and treatment of non-communicable diseases and prevention and control and improving the accessibility to the safe, affordable, effective and quality medicines and technologies to diagnose and to treat them; provide sustainable access to medicines and technologies including through the development and use of evidence-based guidelines for the treatment of non-communicable diseases, efficient procurement and distribution of medicines in countries, strengthen viable financing options and promote the use of affordable medicines, including generics, as well as improved access to preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services particularly at the community level;
  • 51: Foster partnerships between government and civil society, building on the contribution of health-related NGOs and patients organizations, to support, as appropriate, the provision of services for the prevention and control, treatment, careincluding palliative care, of NCDs;

There is real disappointment (which brings us back to today’s film) that access to opioids has not been mentioned specifically. Morphine can be provided cheaply to billions of people with both NCDs and other diseases (including HIV) around the world.  There appears to have been real concern about listing any one drug or class of drugs.

We know that morphine is one of those safe affordable, effective and quality medicines of which they are talking. We need to keep morphine and access to pain control and palliative care on the agenda.

One way?  The WHO has been tasked to develop both indicators for the NCDs and targets, with the proposed targets to be approved at the 2013 World Health Assembly. Assess to opioids but especially morphine should be one of those indicators and also one of those targets.

Thanks to the many who are contributed thus far but especially to Claire Morris from Help the Hospices and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (@the WPCA) and the UICC for keeping palliative care in the spotlight.

Seems that we’ve only just begun but we need your continued views, thoughts, energy and ideas on moving the global palliative care agenda forward!

About Pain policy & palliative care

Improving global pain relief by achieving balanced access to opioids worldwide

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