If you or a loved one, some day, happen to have a health problem resulting in severe pain – whether it be for a day or for a lifetime – you have a right to demand pain relief. It is a human right. Several documents have, in the past, laid emphasis on it. (Cape Town Declaration (2002) [i], the European Committee of Ministers (2003) [ii] , the International Working Group (European School of Oncology)(2004) [iii] and the Korea Declaration (2005) [iv].)
While this right is accepted in the case of adults, it is oft forgotten in the case of children. International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) informs us of a recent declaration by the Special Rapporteur on the right to health emphasizing the child’s right to palliative care.
With the palliative care day coming on, its theme being Hidden Lives, Hidden Patients, the hidden suffering of children should be on our collective conscience. Thank you, Joan Marston, and thank you, ICPCN, for reminding us all of this.
[i] Sebuyira LM, Mwangi-Powell F, Perira J and Spence C. The Cape Town Palliative Care Declaration : Home-Grown Solutions for Sub- Saharan Africa. J Pall Med (2003) 6; 3: 341-343.
[ii] Council of Europe Recommendation 24 of 2003. Adopted by the European Committee of Ministers on November 12 2003.
[iii] Ahmedzai SH et al A new international framework for palliative care. European J of Cancer 40 (2004) 2192-2200.
[iv] The Korea Declaration. Report of the Second Global Summit of National Hospice and Palliative Care Associations, Seoul, March 2005. Available at www.hpc-associations.net.