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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day – be part of the global day of action

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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care globally, and Voices for Hospices is a wave of concerts taking place on this day every two years.

The theme of this World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is: Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care: Don’t leave those suffering behind!

Hospice and palliative care are marginalised issues in healthcare today. People and families needing these services are often left behind.

The aims of the day are: to raise awareness and understanding of the needs – medical, psychological, social, practical, and spiritual – of people living with a life limiting illness and their families; and to raise funds to support and develop hospice and palliative care services around the world.

40 million people need palliative care annually including 20 million at the end of life, with 78% of these living in low and middle income countries. Yet the World Health Organization estimates that only 14% of this need is being met at the end of life, less than 10% overall. In 42% of the world’s countries there is zero availability of palliative care, and in only 20 countries is palliative care well integrated into the health care system.

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people and communities can use the promotive, preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative health services they need without being forced into financial hardship. Palliative care is an essential, defining part of UHC, but it is very seldom included in national UHC packages, meaning that at their sickest, people are deprived of the care they need to relieve their suffering. We must bring UHC including palliative care to those who need it most.

Universal Health Coverage, including palliative care, is critical to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to eradicate poverty by 2030. Financial risk occurs through paying for costly treatment not covered by national health systems, and households with people with life-limiting illness may face high costs and potential financial hardship for futile treatments.

If your organisation is celebrating World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, be sure to add your event to the interactive global map on the WHPCA website. You can also show your support on social media using the hashtag #WHPCDay17 and following The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance on Facebook and @whpca on Twitter.

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