Expanding access to quality palliative care worldwide: World Health Organization delivers pre-congress session at EAPC World Congress Online


If you’re curious about the role of the Word Health Organization (WHO) in palliative care, and their many tools and resources, read on. At a pre-congress session on 5 October, the WHO will launch two new WHO documents and will explore how to address the ongoing challenges in the delivery of quality palliative care across the world.

Join the WHO in their pre-congress session ahead of the 17th World Congress Online of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) on Tuesday 5 October 2021. It’s free to attend and open to all online.

Dr Marie-Charlotte Bouësseau and Dr Anna Ray, Integrated Health Services, World Health Organization, Geneva, explain.

Dr Marie-Charlotte Bouësseau (left) and Dr Anna Ray

Worldwide only about 12 per cent of palliative care need is currently being met.(1) Urgent action is needed as this unmet need continues to grow as a result of ageing populations and the rising burden on non-communicable diseases. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the integral role palliative care plays in health systems and the vital need for palliative care to be integrated into the delivery of primary care and other medical specialties.

Palliative care is highlighted as a central component in the global drive for Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which presents a critical opportunity to raise awareness, expand access and drive improvement in the quality of palliative care delivered worldwide. Without prioritising quality palliative care, the achievement of UHC is at risk.

Work underway at WHO

WHO is working with member states, collaborating centres, academic partners and international non-government organisations to support the implementation of the 2014 World Health Assembly Resolution (67.19) on “Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course”. Over the past year WHO has released guidance on chronic pain in children and supported the development of the 2nd Edition of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care.

Launch of two new WHO products  

At the WHO’s EAPC pre-congress session two important WHO products will be released which focus on palliative care indicators and quality services. Furthermore, the forthcoming second version of the WHO UHC compendium will contain a detailed package of palliative care interventions designed to assist countries in planning palliative care rollout as part of progress towards UHC. WHO’s full range of guidance, tools and resources on palliative care can be found on the WHO website.

EAPC Pre-congress session from WHO 

This session will focus on the progress made towards achieving World Health Assembly resolution 67.19 on palliative care. As well as discussing new and upcoming WHO technical products on palliative care, the session will focus on three fundamental topic areas:

  • Quality and assessment of palliative care
  • Improving pain and symptom control
  • Support to families and partnerships with civil society.

Panel discussions and presentations on these topics will delve into the latest thinking, explore lessons learnt from the field, and define ongoing actions needed to address the challenges we face globally in these areas.

We will be joined at the session by a wide range of excellent speakers from across the world including WHO member state representatives, leaders of international organisations and WHO staff. Our panel moderators will include:

  • Dr Marie-Charlotte Bouësseau, Team Lead, Integrated Health Services, WHO headquarters in Geneva.
  • Dr Eric Krakauer, Associate Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School where he also directs the Global Program of the Center for Palliative Care.
  • Dr Hibah Osman, Founder, Balsam – Lebanese Center for Palliative Care in Beirut, Lebanon.
  • Professor Julia Downing, Executive Director of the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).
  • Dr Stephen Connor, Executive Director of the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA).
  • Katherine Pettus, Senior Advocacy Director of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC)
  • Professor Liz Gwyther, Consultant for WHO and Emeritus Professor of Palliative Medicine at the University of Cape Town.
  • Dr Julie Ling, Chief Executive Officer of the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) and Consultant – Technical Specialist Palliative Care, WHO Regional Office – Europe.

Please join us …

The pre-congress session will take place at 13.30pm Central European Time on Tuesday 5th October. The session is free to attend and open to all online. Join us to hear a range of fascinating presentations and participate in the discussions as we explore the next steps to addressing ongoing challenges in the delivery of quality palliative care across the world.

To view the programme and register for the meeting, please click here.


  1. 2nd Edition of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care


  • WHO website – with guidance, tools and resources on palliative care.
  • Follow us on social media  @WHO


STOP PRESS… Also of interest: ‘Palliative Care in the Eurasian Region’ pre-congress meeting takes place on Wednesday, 5 October at 11.30 to 13.00 CET. It is FREE and open to all. The session will be in English but will have simultaneous Russian language translation available. Register here and/or read the blog post by Dr Stephen Connor here.

EXPLORE NEW DIMENSIONS at #EAPC2021. The 17th EAPC World Congress Online offers interactive online sessions from 6 to 8 October 2021, including an entire day dedicated to Paediatric Palliative Care. Other pre-congress sessions will be held on 5 October and there’ll be lots of on-demand content before and after the congress dates. Full scientific programme now online.

  • Register for the congress here. (Up to 25% discount for EAPC members)
  • Enter the Science Slam here.
  • Get a sneak peek of congress presentations on the EAPC blog
  • Follow us on social media @EAPCvzw #EAPC2021

This entry was posted in 17th EAPC World Congress, ADVOCACY & POLICY and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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