On October 11th, during the First High Level Meeting on Palliative Care held in Peru, Latin American authorities signed a “Proposal for Action” with the commitment to improve access to these services. Among the main points part of the proposal, the one guaranteeing “timely access to essential medicines in palliative care” through “an adequate supply chain”, stands out. These commitments are expected to be included in the national public policies of the signatory States, in the coming months.
The objective of the meeting -which reunited Health Ministers from Guatemala and Uruguay, the Secretary of Health from Mexico, and senior state officials from Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Paraguay and Peru- was to discuss and urge governments to implement public measures to increase and connect palliative care units with the terminally ill patients. Although Bolivia, Chile and Paraguay are the only three countries in the region that still do not have a law to care for people with cancer, specialists warned that the response capacity of Latin America and the Caribbean to this problem is still scarce: it is estimated that only 10% of patients who need access to these services receive it.
The event culminated with a call to action to the allocation of public resources to ensure access to the Essential Package of Palliative Care, consisting of medicines, medical devices and qualified personnel. It is expected that based on the commitments adopted, governments will promote measures that guarantee the full functioning of these services.