11 Oct, 11 | by BMJ Group
A new report by the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance shows that 32% of countries still have no known palliative care activity whatsoever.
The study, entitled “Mapping levels of palliative care development: A global update 2011”, compiled detailed information about the level of hospice and palliative care provision in every country worldwide. The results also showed that only 136 out of 234 countries (58%) had a dedicated hospice or palliative care service – up 9% since 2006 but still startlingly low.
The most improved region since the last report was Africa, largely due to the work of the African Palliative Care Association, who helped to build capacity and improve care provision in several countries, including Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Some isolated services have also been established in the Middle East, providing limited care where before there was none.
Despite the small headway which has been made, however, the report raises serious concerns about the huge number of seriously ill people worldwide for whom palliative care is either highly inadequate or nonexistent. WPCA estimate that 100 million patients and caregivers would benefit from hospice and palliative care, but these figures show that only a fraction currently have access to it.
Read the report here.