National Guideline of Palliative Care

Every individual on this planet has the right to a dignified life and a painless peaceful exit without much suffering. This should be true even in Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated resource constrained countries in the world. Unfortunately, here, as in many other developing countries, organized Palliative care is almost non-existent in the general medical and social practices.

WHO defines Palliative Careas the prevention and relief of suffering of adult & pediatric patients and their families facing the problems associated with life threatening illnesses. However, hundreds of thousands of people in Bangladesh,, including children, require palliative care assistance today as they are often diagnosed at final stages of their non-communicable diseases due to lack of awareness, early diagnosis and intervention. On a comprehensive study conducted by The Economist in 2015 on the 'Quality of Death' Index, Bangladesh ranked 79th out of 80 countries assessed. In this study the quality of life was measured with access to palliative care assistance for the general population during the last days of their lives. The Government of Bangladesh has recognized the pertaining need for integrating Palliative Care into the main stream medical practices.

The country is also a signatory of WHA resolution 67-19 which recommends integration of palliative Care into the mainstream health care service of any country. The document titled "Assessment of Palliative Care in Bangladesh", conducted in 2014 by Centre for Palliative Care (CPC), Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), in collaboration with the National Institute of Population Research and Training (NIPORT) wing of the Directorate Generals office under the Ministry of Health and family welfare puts forward four suggestions to incorporate Palliative Care as part of the basic healthcare services. The first recommendation was formulating a National Guideline for Palliative Care.

This Guideline describes the basic practices that healthcare providers need to follow, the importance of education and training and policy implementations. Community engagement is also a vital part of achieving optimal and comprehensive palliative care in a society as well as the availability of pain medications. This guideline intends to complement the knowledge of our healthcare providers to ensure quality care for persons with life threatening diseases across our communities. It is hoped that with the support of this guideline the medical community will advocate to alleviate pain and suffering and will offer services to those in need of such care.

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