World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (10 October 2015): “Hidden Lives/ Hidden Patients”

10 October 2015 will be celebrated as World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. The theme this year is “Hidden Lives/ Hidden Patients”.

Background Information:

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness.

It prevents and relieves suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

Key Messages:

Each year an estimated 40 million people worldwide require palliative care, with 78% of them living in low and middle-income countries.

For children, 98% of those needing palliative care live in low- and middle-income countries with almost half of them living in Africa.

Various conditions can warrant palliative care including HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and dementia.

According to WHO, less than 14% of those needing palliative care at the end of life currently receive it.

Lack of training and awareness of palliative care among health professionals is a major barrier to improving access.

Overly restrictive regulations for morphine and other essential controlled palliative medicines deny access to adequate pain relief and palliative care- 83% of the world’s population lack access to pain relief

The global need for palliative care will continue to grow as a result of the rising burden of noncommunicable diseases and ageing populations.

Useful Links:

Link to the World Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance web site:

Link to the WHO fact sheet on palliative care:

Link to infographics on palliative care (available in 6 languages):

Link to infographic on palliative care (English):


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