Kigali, Rwanda, September 20th.- Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, has spoken during the morning session of the Sixth International African Palliative Care Conference (Kigali, Rwanda).
"Ignorance - he said - is still the main barrier to the development of palliative care, and not only in Africa". "It is crucial to work with governments to obtain financial support (currently not available) for palliative care. We know that a key objective is to make palliative care sustainable and accessible for all; and this can only be accomplished by including palliative in national healthcare budgets".
"A model that is already available in Africa and that is effective is cooperation between religious personnel (of different denominations and religions) and institutions. Religious professionals support different aspects of care, not just spiritual care. Most hospices are non-governmental (organizations or churches). In many countries, partnership still plays an important role in achieving concrete, clinical, research and training objectives. Personally, I hope that Catholic institutions will become even more actively involved in this work".
"It will certainly be necessary to work in a targeted way with individual institutions to train for palliative care and integrate it. There are countries without palliative care and where it needs to be introduced: Liberia, Chad, Burundi, South Sudan. There is also the disadvantage with respect to palliative care that rural areas suffer compared to cities".
We want to oppose the “throw-away culture”—and we know how pervasive it is in most of contemporary society—by promoting a “palliative care culture,” both to respond to the temptation to support euthanasia and assisted suicide, and above all to spread as widely as possible the culture of caring for others that enables us to stay close to the sick and dying until the end.
The PAL-LIFE Project: An International Advisory Working Group for the Spread and Development of Palliative Care in the World. The Project was launched by the Pontifical Academy for Life in April 2017 to put into action the proposal expressed by Pope Francis in his speech to the participants in the Annual Meeting of the Pontifical Academy for Life on March 5, 2015.
In particular, a White Book for Global Palliative Care Advocacy has been drafted. It is intended to be a working document for the implementation of palliative care. It presents the most important recommendations for the various stakeholder groups involved in the development of global palliative care. Published in English, the White Book has already been translated into German and Italian. Spanish and Portuguese translations will be available soon. We are in the process of sending the White Book to Catholic universities and Catholic hospitals throughout the world.
"I am certain that this Sixth International African Palliative Care Conference will offer a positive contribution to making palliative care, which every day is called on to face great challenges in accompanying the dying, more widely known and more fruitful in the promotion of a new humanism, in solidarity with all. The unity of the human family is the great dream that fascinates us all. Let us work so that our brothers and sisters in Africa become the brothers and sisters of all peoples. I believe that all of us who are passionate about caring for the sick are truly at the beginning of a new humanity".
Kigali, Rwanda, September 20, 2019