World Medical Association Welcomes Major Step Forward on Palliative Care

(26.05.2014) The World Medical Association has welcomed last week’s decision by the World Health Assembly to provide greater support for palliative care.

Following years of pressure from the palliative care movement supported by the WMA, the WHA adopted a resolution which aims to ensure that palliative care is integrated into all relevant global disease control and health system plans. This involves including palliative care as an integral part of the education and training offered to care providers.

Dr. Margaret Mungherera, President of the WMA, said: ‘The WMA has long argued for better palliative care for those millions of people who are suffering pain without access to adequate treatment. This must include education of the public and of healthcare professionals, to overcome barriers to effective pain management.

‘We are delighted that the World Health Assembly has now recognised the need for better basic training and continuing education for all undergraduate medical and nursing courses, and as part of in-service training of caregivers at the primary care level. Only in this way can we improve the current level of palliative care required by more than 40 million people around the world.
‘It is the ethical duty of physicians to alleviate pain and suffering. Palliative care is fundamental to improving people’s quality of life and well-being. It is a matter of human dignity and human rights.

‘In too many countries there are no satisfactory palliative care services and I hope that last week’s decision in Geneva will be a major step forward.’