Expanding the care for the quality of life and quality of death

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Misael Cavalcanti Angelim Neto and Mr. Aldo Izidório Santos Filho, fourth year students of Medicine at the University of Pernambuco campus Serra Talhada, Brazil. 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.

Palliative Care (PC) is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an approach that improves the quality of life for patients with serious or potentially fatal diseases and their family members, relieving suffering for both. The WHO, in 2014, estimated that 20 million people worldwide needed this care and despite the demand, the service is scarce and millions of individuals are not benefited. The terminality of life is often not properly assisted through this type of care which already has scientific proof of effectiveness.

Brazil is the only country with a public health system that covers more than 200 million people and, despite this giant coverage, palliative care is still not available to the majority of these users. In the Brazilian context, only in 2018 PC was standardized by the Ministry of Health as part of the Unified Health System (SUS). Now, this service must be available throughout the care network, from primary care to more specialized care. Unfortunately, even with this proposal for universal health coverage, PC is still insufficient. In 2015, The Economist Intelligence Unit reported that Brazil is the 42nd country in the ranking of palliative care initiatives, behind several countries in Latin America, such as Ecuador, Uruguay, and Argentina.

In this context, how can we seek more inclusion of palliative care in universal health coverage? We believe that part of the answer lies in education. Health education is essential, yet we see that some health professionals do not know the PC approach due to lack of introduction during their degrees’ studies or simply lack contact with scientific material demonstrating the effectiveness and positive impact of PC in the quality of life of patients. Hence, through the dissemination of knowledge, it is possible to recognize PC as an essential service in health coverage, as well as to expand advocacy for PC since the beginning, still in the university environment, and equally, fostering specialization and research in palliative care.

Furthermore, we consider that the greater availability of hospital beds and centers for palliative care are extremely important, because from the moment the service is disseminated throughout the territory, greater will be the access by the population and, therefore, greater the improvement for the quality of life and death. Both public and private investments efforts are essential for expanding the service in a coordinated manner, at all levels of care, and in all places. Thus, both physical resources, such as medicines and center for palliative care, and human resources, such as specialized professionals, will have a greater chance of attending and give proper care to larger populations.

Lastly, we trust that the universal expansion of palliative care can also promote a change in the practice of medicine, as these services do not only address the disease but the individual in a multidimensional way. Alongside advocacy for palliative care in universal health coverage, the health systems and professionals will also move towards medicine that understands more about the importance of caring and not just curing.

About the author

Misael Cavalcanti Angelim Neto, student of the fourth year of Medicine at the University of Pernambuco campus Serra Talhada. He is a member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations of Brazil (IFMSA Brazil), acting as President of the Local Committee IFMSA Brazil UPE Serra Talhada and member of the National Team of Public Health of IFMSA Brazil. He shares interests in Public Health believing in the need to promote easier access to better public health systems for all populations.

Aldo Izidório Santos Filho, student of the fourth year of Medicine at the University of Pernambuco campus Serra Talhada and affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students’ Association of Brazil (IFMSA Brazil), acting as Local Vice President for Internal Affairs of the Local Committee IFMSA Brazil UPE Serra Talhada. He shares interests in studies about mental health, oncology, and the fundamental right of palliative care available for all patients who need this approach.

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 South Sudan’s Unity government, lauds parties for ‘significant achievement’

With lifelong learning, you too can join the digital workplace

Legendary Harlem Globetrotters slam-dunk at the UN, with message that brings families, nations together

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

A Europe that delivers: EU citizens expect more EU level action in future

Ukraine: Temperatures plunge amid rising humanitarian needs

How to talk about climate change: 5 tips from the front lines

This Canadian start-up turns millions of chopsticks into sustainable furniture

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

2019 data on official development aid & online discussion of ODA’s role in the Covid-19 crisis

Spanish vote – bad luck for Greece: Does Iphigenia need to be sacrificed for favourable winds to blow in Eurozone?

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Re-open EU: Commission launches a website to safely resume travelling and tourism in the EU

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

Eastern Partnership: Commission proposes new policy objectives for beyond 2020

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

South Sudan: UN rights experts see little headway on peace deal amid spike in local-level violence

UN official sees ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to make progress on peace in Afghanistan

Commission supports reform projects in Member States for more jobs and sustainable growth

Polish de facto ban on abortion puts women’s lives at risk, says Parliament

Mobile health technology: Advances, Facilitations and Promotion of Autonomy

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

State aid: Commission approves up to €4 billion French measure to recapitalise Air France

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

This afternoon Britain will be once more isolated from mainland Europe

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Built by a woman: supporting the dreams of mum entrepreneurs

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people – are you one of them?

Pandemic versus fear

A breath of fresh air: How three disused industrial areas became beautiful parks

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

Pro-EU forces won a 70% triumph in the European elections

Norway has successfully enforced its foreign bribery laws but faces potential obstacles

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Right-wing “sovranism” harm national identity

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

How global food safety protects the planet and begins on the farm

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

Why collaboration will be key to creating the workforce of the future

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

A jingoistic Spanish ‘war’ from the past

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Forty-two countries adopt new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

5G: How a ‘legion of robots’ could help save the rhino

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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