Inequalities of palliative care availability and access to opioids in low- and middle-income countries

This article was written by Rachel Coghlan, Omar Shamieh, Melissa J Bloomer and was published in Sage Journals on 26 July 2021

Fourteen years ago in a Palliative Medicine Editorial, Clemens et al. declared:

‘. . .the improvement of care for the critically ill and the dying remains a political challenge and an ethical imperative in low-income regions across the world, and it will need the untiring commitment of the world community to make it happen’.1

In 2021, palliative care provision for people living in low- and middle-income countries remains woefully inadequate; and the number of people who will die with unnecessary suffering is projected to increase significantly in coming decades. Gross inequities in access to opioids and palliative care availability exist throughout the world.

A secondary analysis of palliative care provision across Europe highlights inequities between high-income countries and low- and middle-income countries.2 High-income countries and those within Western Europe achieved major increases in home-based, inpatient and hospital support palliative care between 2005 and 2019; while low- and middle-income countries across the region showed little increase in specialised palliative care provision.2 

CLICK HERE to read the full article on the SAGE Journal website


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