The teaching of Palliative Care for future health professionals and its inclusion in Universal Coverage Health

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Mariana Schmitt Roque and Ms. Fernanda Carolina Menechini Rocha, two medical students at the Centro Universitário Ingá, located in Maringá – Paraná. They are 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 writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

In the last decades, a worldwide phenomenon of increasing expectancy of life is being observed. Although the medicine progress, the prevalence of chronic diseases grows and many diseases keep incurable. Death has always been present in the daily life of humans, faced by a particular way in each culture. However, death is still often ignored or tabooed by most people. In this context, palliative care is born, which aims to promote assistance based on compassion and respect for the patient and their family front to a life-threatening disease, acting through the relief of suffering, of pain and symptoms, thus promoting quality and well-being at this stage of life.

It is observed that the teaching of palliative care is still a not much explored subject in most part of world. About 5 billion people live in countries where there is little or no access to relief moderate and severe pain medications, with assistance focused exclusively on maintaining life, remaining few measures that allow a painless death, discomfort and / or stress. On the other hand, Universal Health Coverage (UHC) defends health promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. For the practice of UHC it is necessary that there is availability, access and professionals health training who provide this care to the population.

Towards to this scenario, the knowledge and technical preparation missing about palliative care in the training of medical and other health professionals reflects directly on their adherence to the UHC. It is essential to implement on the curriculum of medical students and other health professionals, because, when it is inserted in medical practice, there is greater applicability of palliative care to the population. It is necessary to develop aspects of compassion and psychological preparation of future professionals to deal with the patient who has received a bad prognosis, or with who is in a situation of extreme pain and / or who is at the life’s end. furthermore, it is essential that humanitarian skills are developed, such as listening, supporting and caring of this terminal patient and in physical and mental suffering. Only with better training of future health professionals in relation to palliative care will there be an effective possibility of inclusion in the UHC, either in practice with patients, or in the transfer of knowledge to professional colleagues.

“We all need people capable of understanding our pain and helping us to transform our suffering into something that makes sense” (“A Morte é um Dia Que Vale a Pena Viver”, Ana Claudia Quintana, 2017).


Victor, G. H. G. G. (2016). Cuidados paliativos no mundo. Revista Brasileira de Cancerologia, 62(3), 267-270;

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION. Universal Coverage Health. Availabre at:<;. Accessed in december 23th of 2020

About the authors

Mariana Schmitt Roque is a medical student at the Centro Universitário Ingá, located in the city of Maringá – Paraná. She is a member of the national Capacity Bulding team at IFMSA Brazil and Local Vice President for Internal subjects at IFMSA Brazil Uningá.

Fernanda Carolina Menechini Rocha is a medical student at the Centro Universitário Ingá, located in Maringá – Paraná. She is member of the Ethics and Bioethics Academic League and she is vice-president of the Medical Education Academic League.

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