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

(Credit: Unsplash)

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.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief welcomes resolution to 27-year-old disagreement over renaming the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The US pipeline attack shows the energy sector must act now on cybersecurity. Here are 6 ways how

How trade-based money laundering works and its impact on world finances

Why is the World Health Organisation so much needed?

Remarks by Commissioner Lenarčič on the deployment of EU Medical Teams to Italy

The link between migration and technology is not what you think

UN space-based tool opens new horizons to track land-use on Earth’s surface

‘The clock is ticking’ on meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, says UN deputy chief

UN agencies call for more resettlement and end to detention of asylum seekers in Libya

NextGenerationEU: Commission gets ready to raise up to €800 billion to fund the recovery

Here are six bold ideas to accelerate sustainable energy innovation

Logo Mania: A call to action to our crisis of connection

Judges urge Security Council to serve interests of all UN Member States

Why financial services can kickstart Africa’s digital economy

Parliament approves seven-year EU budget 2021-2027

IMF: World cup and productivity

Connected Claims Europe on 18-19 September 2019, in association with The European Sting

A shocking new report reveals what we’ve done to the natural world

Bosnia and Herzegovina: EU allocates additional €3.5 million to support vulnerable refugees and migrants

Eurozone bank rescues ‘a la carte’ until 2015 then only bail-ins

EU’s tougher privacy rules: WhatsApp and Facebook set to be soon aligned with telcos

Nothing about us without us: how youth empowerment creates lasting change in the climate meltdown

It’s time for the circular economy to go global – and you can help

Dark spots on EU humanitarian aid spending

A reflection of health inequity in recent epidemics

Fuel crisis rapidly draining last ‘coping capacities’ of Palestinians in Gaza

MEPs hail minimum global corporate tax rate deal as historic

Closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms

COVID-19 Myths and Facts

A Sting Exclusive: EU Commission’s Vice President Šefčovič accentuates the importance of innovation to EU’s Energy Union

Brexit: €5 billion to help EU countries mitigate social and economic impact

Improvements to pension systems have made them better placed to deliver pensions

Easing ‘classroom crisis’ in Côte d’Ivoire, brick by (plastic) brick

State aid: Commission approves €1.1 billion Polish scheme to further support companies affected by coronavirus outbreak

ECB: The bastion of effective and equitable Europeanism keeps up quantitative easing

State aid: Commission approves German aid scheme to support airports affected by the coronavirus outbreak

Bertelsmann Stiftung @ European Business Summit 2014: Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TTIP) needs balanced approach

Green light for VAT overhaul to simplify system and cut fraud

What does strategy have to do with a platform approach?

This is the IMF’s latest take on the economy in 2020

EuroLat plenary in Panama: control of trade talks and fight against crime

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

Coronavirus: EU channels further support to Nepal and repatriates EU citizens

Vaccine hesitancy: a pregnancy related issue?

Impressions of China

Challenges in accessing Palliative Care from the perspective of Universal Health Coverage

4 innovative renewable energy projects powering Europe’s green future

South Korea once recycled 2% of its food waste. Now it recycles 95%

Is a deal over EU budget possible today?

EU agricultural production no more a self-sufficiency anchor

Partner countries get €3bn in loans to prop up economies affected by pandemic

Our food system is no longer fit for the 21st century. Here are three ways to fix it

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

The US banks drive the developing world to a catastrophe

Team Europe: Digital4Development Hub launched to help shape a fair digital future across the globe

UN chief pays tribute to Egypt’s role in avoiding ‘dramatic’ escalation in conflict across the Gaza-Israel border

3 ways to fight short-termism and relaunch Europe

More than speed: 5G could become the next big economic driver

Smart cities must pay more attention to the people who live in them

COVID-19 poses a dramatic threat to life in conflict zones

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s