Palliative care and Universal Health Care

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Manisha Das , a student of MBBS 2, studying at Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh. . She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

If you or your loved ones are living with severe life threatening illnesses like cancer, HIV,COPD etc., you may need to undergo symptomatic follow up, seeking for help and support to lessen stress, pressure and improve life. In this circumstance, Palliative Care can reduce your complications!

So now what is Palliative Care?

The word Palliative itself means ‘relieving’. So thereby, palliative care stands for a specialized medication for those who are suffering from serious illness , to alleviate their pain ,as well as upgrading their psychological and spiritual mind setting.

Who is involved in this treatment process?

Not only the patient but also corresponding family members are also included into this care. A well trained doctors team, nurses, other specialists who work with patient’s other consultants to render extra layers of support. The main focus is to relieve stress and pain. And the expected goal is betterment of quality of life both for patients and the family.

Like, It is TEAMWORK!

Figure : Palliative Tree*                          *Photo by

What is UHC?                                        UHC, which is an abbreviation of United Health Coverage , is used as a term in which people irrespective of caste and creeds can access preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative, palliative care as their demand as well as ensuring that these services doesn’t tend to drive them into financial crises.

Why is this Palliative Care needed as an Essential Package under the UHC program?  

As palliative care is greatly needed by seriously ill ridden patients and when it’s a matter of to include it into UHC, Palliative care should have to fulfill THREE criterias of UHC.

  • Providing care to all people who need and it should be delivered irrespective of age, sex, gender and nationality.
  • Treatment should be promotive, preventive, effective and curative.
  • And also considering whether it exposes a patient into financial hardship.

Now it can be literally said that, if we can combine these three along with relieving the pain of chronic bed-ridden patients, palliative care will surely be more effective and progressive. Because the expected target of palliative care is Collaboration of  patients physically , mentally and financially.

Now, here are  some measures to include palliative care under UHC

  • Introduction and mass awareness

First of all try to establish a crystal clear image about  palliative care among people , so that they feel free to access  and  co-operate, Beside of this, raise awareness by spreading importance ,impaction, effectiveness of palliative care as a part UHC.

  • Promotion and accessibility

Palliative care should be included as a part of the Health Act worldwide. Each and every person should have the right to access it. Also it should be made cost free so that people from limiting conditions don’t face economic hardship.

  • Training on it from core level

As it’s specialized care, proper training and management should be started from foundation level. Guide and train doctors , nurses , community  health workers from the very primary level.

  • Mentoring patient and the family

Support and mentor the patient and family members to achieve this curative care and advantage of regaining quality of life as a part of UHC to reflect their true and current needs.

  • Planning of agenda and future management to spread it to all region

Take initiative for announcements, publications, training, establishment of palliative care to make it available in every nook and corner of the world under UHC.

About the author

This article is written by  Manisha Das , a student of MBBS 2 , studying at Dhaka Medical College in Bangladesh. Besides her medical studies, she has been an official member of IFMSA Bangladesh since 2019 and also connected with volunteering like blood donation, awareness about blood borne diseases, vaccination works through Medicine Club at DMC. In the future, she is interested in research next to her medical profession and therefore she considers IFMSA as a global opportunity to nourish it. She also dreams of such a world,where no one will be deprived of primary health needs and doctor –patient relationships will be more reliable, more affable which can reduce unexpected misunderstanding and accelerate genuine treatment progress.

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