Published on: June 29, 2023

The European Association for Palliative Care had its 18th World Congress in Rotterdam, The Netherlands between June 15th and 17th 2023. The theme for this year was ‘Equity and Diversity’.

Pallium India’s Head of Policy, Strategic Programs and Partnerships, Smriti Rana was invited to speak at two parallel sessions.

The first was a panel discussion on Rethinking Palliative Care in Cultural Traditions to Optimize Equity and Diversity, where she made a presentation on ‘Reframing Palliative Care through a Global South Perspective’.

Apart from Smriti, this panel comprised of Dr. Sokhna Ndiaye from Senegal and Dr. Mervyn Koh from Singapore, and was chaired by Dr. Christian Ntzimira from Rwanda and Dr. Elissa Campell from Australia. The discussion emphasized issues faced by historically marginalized regions, and learnings and innovations in providing quality palliative care services in resource crunched settings, in ways that are culturally and socially appropriate.

The second was the Lancet Commission on the Value of Death: Future Actions for Palliative Care, where Smriti presented on ‘Loss, Caring and Suffering: The Role of Palliative Care in Low and Middle Income Countries’. Smriti was there in lieu of Dr. Rajagopal, who was one of the Commissioners on the report, as were the other panelists and the Chair – Dr. Libby Sallnow, Dr. Ros Taylor and Prof. Katherine Sleeman respectively.

In both sessions, Smriti shared experiences and practices from Pallium India in particular and from Low and middle countries in general. She drew on personal stories, woven with data, gaps and recommendations. She highlighted the impact of colonization on the current global inequities in not just access to opioids for pain relief but also in policy design and implementation, while simultaneously talking about best practices and models of care that may be effectively translated across other low resource settings.

The presentations were well received, earning Smriti warm ovations and a place amongst the top 5 influencers of the EAPC Congress, which by June 18th had over 4 million impressions on Twitter alone.

We are proud and delighted at this achievement, and more importantly that by that token, the disparity and inequity faced by LMICs with regard to access to medicine and quality palliative care were made visible at this important platform at the World Congress.

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