Free healthcare to saves lives

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Rim Chehab and Mr. Hussein Ghassani, two Lebanese 21 years old, fourth year students at the Lebanese University faculty of Medical Sciences, Beirut. They are affiliated with 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.

“Hospice and palliative care is a basic need for any individual because Health Coverage must be provided for all whether their condition is curable or terminal.”

When the Doctor told “X” she has stage 4 lung cancer, a life threatening illness, letting her battle the uncertainty of life and death. She was told she might still have a few months or even some years to live, it’s hard to imagine her feelings especially when her future is unclear, full of fear, hope and agony where even doctors cannot give a cutting edge answer . That’s why, she was referred to palliative care along with her therapy plan.

Here, in palliative care the goal is not to cure, but to help patients and families who are facing serious illness to improve their quality of life with the help and assistance of an interdisciplinary team, alleviating life’s discomfort and accepting death.

Unlike the misconception ruling it, palliative care does not necessarily mean that the person is dying. Many people are actually cured and will eventually leave the hospice. Patients will not only receive care in their last days but throughout their whole journey. In fact, referral time for patients varies: some people are referred whilst still receiving disease-modifying treatment, others when a decision has been taken to discontinue such treatment.

Palliative care is about what the patient really needs, it’s about finding the courage to face reality, and to talk about realistic hope, and when in need, talking openly about death with a specialist and understanding the aspects of “end of life”, ideally leaving this world in dignity and peace. Respecting the human being in the patient as well as validating the loss of their loved ones.

In addition to that, it’s highly indispensable to stress on the fact that Palliative care is NOT a privilege. Starting from the pillars of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), it’s a basic human to get affordable access to healthcare, not to exclude palliative care here, for it’s crucial impact in positively improving the patient’s and their family’s life.

No one should go bankrupt when they get sick. Worldwide, only 14% of people who need palliative care currently receive it due to the immense economic burden on the family.  As medical students, it’s our utmost duty to advocate for the fact that good health transforms societies! Always reminding the public that health for ALL is critical in order to build the future we want to live in, where no one is left behind and vulnerabilities are diminished.

Moreover, palliative care is cost effective and affordable: evidence from 38 studies indicates that on average 33–38% of patients near the end of life received Non-beneficial treatments in hospital. We, as a collective, need to accept that palliative care alleviates suffering and improves the quality of life of adults and children with life-limiting communicable and non communicable conditions and illnesses, those who are particularly vulnerable to catastrophic expenditure on health.


  1. Why palliative care must be included in Universal Health Coverage
  2. Universal Health Coverage and Palliative Care
  3. Palliative care
  4. NG142 Evidence review B
  5. Harm of Unnecessary Hospitalization for Patients With Low-Risk Syncope
  6. Non-beneficial treatments in hospital at the end of life: a systematic review on extent of the problem

About the author

Rim Chehab is Lebanese 21 years old, third year medical student in the Lebanese University, Beirut (LU). Currently, she is the Public relations and communication representative in the Lebanese Red Cross Youth Sector, local officer on human rights and peace in the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee, and secretary of Donner Sang Compter club LU. In addition to that, she has a high sense of community engagement, advocating for public health matters aimed at serving the vulnerable populations locally and globally. Her objective is to combine her scientific medical studies with her artistic background in order to build a holistic perspective in life.

Hussein Ghassani is a Lebanese 21 years old, fourth year student at the Lebanese University faculty of Medical Sciences, Beirut. He is a general member of the Lebanese Medical Students International Committee, interested in Medical Education and in Research, he’s a young writer that believes in the power of words and choices.

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

4 key trends on how COVID has impacted women in business

“The winner is who can accelerate the transition to a new digital era”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015: a Digital Europe 4.0

Cyber attacks are shutting down countries, cities and companies. Here’s how to stop them

EU Commission: Growth first then fiscal consolidation

€200 million to promote European agri-food products in and outside the EU

Commission: Raising the social issues that can make or break the monetary union

Why a coronavirus vaccine takes over a year to produce – and why that is incredibly fast

Europe must remember its past to build its future

UN chief ‘following very closely’ reports of chemical weapons use in Syria’s Aleppo

Improve collection of data on disasters, Secretary-General Guterres urges

Why CEOs need to become activists in sustainability

5 milestones in green energy

This Norwegian cruise line plans to power its ships with rotting fish

The interface between palliative care and dementia

Paliative care and Universal Healthcare

US-EU trade negotiations: pointless tariffs against real economic growth

The importance of collaboration in the digital economy

COVID-19: lessons from Italy on public-private healthcare procurement

New neighbours: Could Venus really be home to alien life?

How India’s globalized cities will change its future

Growth is running out of steam. How do we prepare for the next crisis?

Trump asked Merkel to pay NATO arrears and cut down exports ignoring the EU

3 charts that show how attitudes to climate science vary around the world

MEPs want to boost energy storage in the EU to help spur decarbonisation

EU strengthens cooperation with Ethiopia

These clothes were designed by artificial intelligence

Trade is not a weapon. Let’s not use it as one

ECB money bonanza not enough to revive euro area, Germany longs to rule with stagnation

European Semester 2018 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to achieve sustainable, inclusive and long-term growth

‘Worst devastation I have seen,’ says UN refugee envoy Angelina Jolie, as she visits West Mosul

3 charts that show how attitudes to climate science vary around the world

Climate change: won or lost in cities or by cities?

CO2 emissions around the world

IMF: The global economy keeps growing except Eurozone

The scheming of Boris: win an election after a no-deal Brexit

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

Asylum Seeker Accommodation and Mental Health

A Europe that protects: EU reports on progress in fighting disinformation ahead of European Council

Parliament backs measures to cut e-commerce VAT fraud

German synagogue shooting ‘another tragic demonstration of anti-Semitism’: UN chief

Here’s how the global financial crisis is still affecting your wages

‘Forgotten crisis’ in Cameroon, with attacks on the rise, millions in need of ‘lifesaving assistance’

How to turn Africa’s manufacturing sector into a high-tech powerhouse

These 10 countries are the best at respecting children’s rights

Rising insecurity in Central Africa Republic threatens wider region, Security Council told

Switzerland to favour EU citizens in immigration quotas as the risk of a new referendum looms

What’s the latest on coronavirus antibody tests?

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

Turbocharging scientific discovery: with bits, neurons, qubits – and collaboration

Amid pandemic detours, mental health matters

Project Manager – 2024

One good reason to feel less blue about the future of our oceans

Brexit update: Will the EU grant extention to Britain preventing economic chaos?

Why Obama asks approval from Congress to bomb Syria?

Coronavirus Response: Commission proposes to exempt vital goods and services distributed by the EU from VAT in times of crisis

We know ethics should inform AI. But which ethics?

EU to take action against fake news and foreign electoral interference

Iran-US attack in Iraq: Guterres pledges ‘active engagement’ in further de-escalation efforts

What slums can teach us about building the cities of the future

WHO and IFMSA as transcendent pillars for world improvement

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