This second edition of the Global Atlas of Palliative Care updates the current situation of global palliative care development since the original version was published in 2014. A lot has happened in the intervening years including the passage of the World Health Assembly’s resolution on palliative care (WHA67.19). While progress is being made to meet the unmet need for palliative care globally the remaining gap in access to care is unacceptable.
The need for palliative care has never been greater and is increasing at a rapid pace due to ageing of the world’s population, increases in cancer and other noncommunicable diseases, and the recent emergence of COVID-19. By 2060 the need for palliative care at the end of life is expected to double.
Palliative care is underdeveloped in most of the world. Outside North America, Europe, and Australia, access to quality palliative care continues to be minimal even though 76% of the need is in low-and-middle income countries.
Since the early 1980s, the need for cancer palliative care has been progressively acknowledged worldwide. More recently, there is increased awareness of the need for palliative care for other chronic diseases or conditions such as HIV and AIDS, congestive heart failure, cerebrovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, chronic respiratory diseases, drug-resistant tuberculosis, injury, and diseases of older people. However, there remains a huge unmet need for palliative care for these chronic life-limiting health problems in most parts of the world.
The purpose of this Atlas is to continue to shine a light on the need for palliative care globally and to provide useful information for those wishing to increase access.