Integrating palliative care and symptom relief into primary health care : WHO guide for planners, implementers and managers

World Health Organization WHO, (2018)

Inequality of access to palliative care and symptom relief is one of the greatest disparities in global health care (1). Currently, there is avoidable suffering on a massive scale due to lack of access to palliative care and symptom relief in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (1). Yet basic palliative care that can prevent or relieve most suffering due to serious or life-threatening health conditions can be taught easily to generalist clinicians, can be provided in the community and requires only simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment. For these reasons, the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolved that palliative care is "an ethical responsibility of health systems"(2). Further, most patients who need palliative care are at home and prefer to remain there. Thus, it is imperative that palliative care be provided in the community as part of primary care. This document was written to assist ministries of health and health care planners, implementers and managers to integrate palliative care and symptom control into primary health care (PHC).


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