This World Hospice and Palliative Day, Oct 8th, 20011, the World Palliative Care Alliance (@thewpca) released a new report, Mapping Levels of Palliative Care Development: A Global Update 2011. Commendations to the principal authors, Tom Lynch, David Clark and Stephen Connor who make comparisons with a previous 2006 report.
They analyze, using a method that they indicate is limited, the current state of palliative care in each country. They point out that a major limitation is that the majority of the data coming from “key persons” in each country and they even highlight where there may be bias of inaccuracy. But some of the key findings of the report.
- 42% of the world’s countries have no palliative care services.
- 20 countries have climbed from “no known activity/capacity building” to some form of palliative care (Africa 9, Middle East 5 and the Americas 3).
- African countries moved (Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbawe are classified as having “preliminary integration” with Ugands having “Advanced Integration.”
So a lot to be celebrate, but celebrate with caution (hence the sow’s ear!” Progress is being made but is this a true measure.
It is interesting to watch countries such as the UK really question how well they are doing in terms of the provision of palliative care. Do the vast distances required for clinicians to travel in outback Australia prevent them from having “advanced integration?” And does the lack of health insurance for millions in the US, prevent them from having advanced integration, despite the Hospice Medicare benefit?
And can countries that have very low morphine consumption really talk about integration of palliative care (accepting that palliative care is not just about morphine). Can countries that are classified by the WHO in the World Health Report 2000, as not having strong health care systems, really be approaching integration?
Appreciate your discussion on this very important report from WPCA.