Africa: CSO Dialogue - Palliative Care Integration in WHO Strategic Priorities Leading to Comprehensive Primary Health Care Under Universal Health Coverage

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WHO Health and Multilateral Partnerships

Dear colleagues and friends,

Welcome to this dialogue on palliative care, which is a follow up from our last discussion in November, which raised many important issues.

We have a common objective: to support equitable access to quality palliative care and medicines that meet the needs of patients and their families.

Today, our focus is on how we can strengthen our collaboration, so that everyone who needs quality palliative care can access it, where and when they need it.

Over the past few months, civil society organizations and the WHO Internal Working Group on palliative care have collaborated on a common work plan.

Key ongoing activities from this include work to ensure opioid analgesics and other controlled medicines are available to alleviate suffering for a range of medical conditions.

Today we are joined by colleagues from WHO's Regional Offices, who can help us to better address needs in different geographical areas.

You have also emphasized the need to integrate palliative care in WHO's technical guidance across all of our programmes, as our Member States have also asked us to do.

WHO is committed to strengthening palliative care across disease areas and age groups, as an essential component of primary health care, with special attention to vulnerable groups, such as refugees.

The COVID -19 pandemic has caused severe shortages of essential controlled medicines, and disruption of health services, in particular in low-income countries with weak supply chains and with limited or no local production.

WHO is working with countries to ensure the continuity of essential health services and equitable access to medicines, including for palliative care, even and especially during major crises.

We support efforts in countries affected by supply chain disruptions and shortages of medicines, to strengthen procurement, regulatory capacity and local production.

Your members and collaborators can play a critical role in helping to monitor palliative care programmes in countries, both to identify gaps and to propose innovative approaches to addressing them. We need to better evaluate the real impact of palliative care interventions.

Our collaboration is critical for improving access palliative care and integrating it in primary health care.

I look forward to a productive discussion today, and to your suggestions, rooted in your experience and knowledge.

I thank you.

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