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Palliative care on global health agenda | The Lancet Oncology | Volume 16, Issue 2, pp. 131-133

“Poor access to effective palliative care remains a global public health failing […] Most of the demand for palliative care services is associated with the ever-increasing burden of chronic and noncommunicable disease […] Despite this widespread need, only 20 countries (8.5%) have integrated palliative care adequately into their health care system.”

Published in Lancet Oncology in February 2015, this commentary outlines the opportunity to highlight palliative care in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework which will define global health priorities for the international development community from 2015-2030.

Although almost 20 million people require end of life palliative care, 80% of whom live in low- and middle-income countries, palliative care has largely been absent from the global health dialogue. A large part of the need for palliative care is, and will continue to be, a result of NCDs and injuries. As the authors discuss in this commentary, a lack of financing mechanisms and a low donor priority for investment in palliative care is currently hindering the delivery of care needed to reduce suffering of patients and their families.