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Palliative Care fact sheet issued by the World Health Organization on July 2015

Key facts

  • Palliative care improves the quality of life of patients and their families who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual.

  • Each year, an estimated 40 million people are in need of palliative care, 78% of them people live in low- and middle-income countries.

  • Worldwide, only about 14% of people who need palliative care currently receive it.

  • Overly restrictive regulations for morphine and other essential controlled palliative medicines deny access to adequate pain relief and palliative care.

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

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

  • Early palliative care reduces unnecessary hospital admissions and the use of health services


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