UNICEF/Nesbitt
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                                Palliative care

                                  Overview

                                  Palliative care is a crucial part of integrated, people-centred health services. Relieving serious health-related suffering, be it physical, psychological, social, or spiritual, is a global ethical responsibility. Thus, whether the cause of suffering is cardiovascular disease, cancer, major organ failure, drug-resistant tuberculosis, severe burns, end-stage chronic illness, acute trauma, extreme birth prematurity or extreme frailty of old age, palliative care may be needed and has to be available at all levels of care.

                                  It is estimated that globally only 14% of patients who need palliative care receive it; to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3, working towards universal health coverage, countries have to strengthen palliative care services. WHO works with countries to include palliative care as a key part of their health systems. To improve equitable access to palliative care services, emphasis is given to a Primary Health Care approach. Assessment tools have been developed to measure progress made. Strong partnerships are in place to develop and implement technical guidance, to strengthen capacity and to disseminate information.

                                  78%

                                  of adults

                                  in need of palliative care live in low- and middle-income countries

                                  40 million

                                  people

                                  are in need of palliative care each year

                                  Highlights

                                  Video

                                  Publications

                                  All →
                                  Quality health services and palliative care: practical approaches and resources to support policy, strategy and practice

                                  As countries commit to achieving universal health coverage, it is imperative to ensure that the design and delivery of palliative care services place attention...

                                  Assessing the development of palliative care worldwide: a set of actionable indicators

                                  Assessing the development of palliative care worldwide: a set of actionable indicators provides a refined set of actionable indicators that can be...

                                  Guidelines on the management of chronic pain in children: executive summary

                                  In these guidelines, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides evidence-informed recommendations for the management of chronic pain in children. The...

                                  COVID-19 Clinical management: living guidance

                                  The WHO COVID-19 Clinical management: living guidance contains the Organization’s most up-to-date recommendations for the clinical management of...

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