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New International Alliance Launched to Address Urgent Needs of Palliative Care Patients Worldwide
Date:5/5/2009

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today marks the launch of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA), a new global action network designed to focus exclusively on hospice and palliative care development worldwide.

More than 100 million people and their families worldwide need palliative care and support each year; however, it is estimated that only seven per cent actually receive it. The need for palliative care is often greatest in low and middle income countries where more than 70 percent of all cancer deaths occur and where the HIV burden is the highest.

The WPCA is an alliance of national and regional hospice and palliative care organizations, bringing together people around the world with a shared vision of universal access to quality palliative care. This includes the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization based in Alexandria, Virginia. With more than 34,000 members, NHPCO is the preeminent leadership organization in the U.S. representing hospice and palliative care providers and professionals.

"WPCA will provide a global voice to achieve the goal of universal access to quality palliative care," said J. Donald Schumacher, NHPCO president and CEO, who is attending the launch of the WPCA at the 4th Worldwide Summit of National Associations of Hospice and Palliative Care in Vienna, Austria, today.

"Hospice and palliative care is still unavailable to many of those in need, especially in the developing world, with millions of people dying in pain and distress every year," said Dr. Cynthia Goh, co-chair of the WPCA, from the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network. "Only 15 percent of the world's countries have hospice and palliative care that is integrated with general healthcare, so the formation of the WPCA is a tremendously positive step forward in helping to meet an overwhelming need."

National hospice and palliative care organizations have been informally meeting every two years since 2003 to address this need -- this group has now formally become the WPCA.

"The formation of the WPCA signifies the coming together of global palliative care leaders. Members of the WPCA will work together to support the development of hospice and palliative care services throughout the world so that all who need such care can access it. The WPCA also offers an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and share and learn from that richness to help provide palliative care for millions of people worldwide," commented David Praill, co-chair of the WPCA, from the UK's Help the Hospices.

For more information about WPCA, visit www.helpthehospices.org.uk/wpca

    WPCA Contact:
    Bansree Takodra
    Help the Hospices
    Ph: 020 7520 8251
    b.takodra@helpthehospices.org.uk

    NHPCO Contact:
    Jon Radulovic
    NHPCO
    703-837-3139
    jradulovic@nhpco.org


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SOURCE National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
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