Apply for grants to get patient’s voices heard in low and middle income countries to stop needless suffering!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Lucy Watt, a palliative care patient advocate, explores the importance of advocacy for palliative care based on her experience as a patient living with a neuromuscular disease and intestinal failure in the perfect context of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance launching grants to support patient groups in their efforts in this.    

Worldwide millions of people suffer as a result of serious health conditions such as cancer, dementia, multi-drug resistant TB, cardiovascular disease and HIV. This suffering could be alleviated through palliative care, which I benefit from. However, the tragic reality is that if you live in the world’s richest countries, you are much more likely to get the care that you need than if you live in the world’s poorest. In addition, you are more likely to receive the care that you need if you live with some conditions than others.

This is not a cost issue, it is a political choice. But people do not demand an end to this suffering for themselves and their families – partly, perhaps, because we do not know what is possible. Palliative care is not just for end of life care – according to the World Health Organization it should be available from the point of diagnosis of life-limiting conditions to treat our physical pain and symptoms and our psychosocial, spiritual and other needs too. An essential publicly funded package of palliative care as part of Universal Health Coverage could be available to all who need it because it is affordable.

The WHPCA has launched a grants round for up to US$15000 for patient-led groups and/or older people networks and palliative care organizations in low and middle-income countries to undertake advocacy and/or public engagement projects which raise the demand and voice of people who are living with life-limiting conditions and/or older people for access to palliative care. I urge you to apply by 1st May 2018.

The voice of people who are directly affected must be heard to make change happen. Aged 17, I was told I had less than 5 years to live. I have a neuromuscular disease and intestinal failure, meaning I’m fed directly into my bloodstream. Yet, I’ve survived my prognosis and am thriving thanks to palliative care and the UK’s NHS. My end of life planning led to me explaining I wanted to make a difference for others around the world, and from this I gave a speech in the UK House of Commons, became an advocate, received an MBE and met with Dr Tedros, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, who was moved by my story and my mission.  

Our voices can and must be heard now by those who can make a difference! Join me to stop this needless suffering.

Apply for the WHPCA grants

Join the global network ‘Palliative Care Voices’ facebook group.

Watch Dr Tedros talk about our meeting at the launch of the Lancet Commission on Palliative Care and Pain Relief