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Report 12th EAPC Congress - Lisbon, Portugal, 18-21 May 2011

The Lisbon challenge

The EAPC, in collaboration with the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has launched the Lisbon Challenge at the congress, a new initiative pertaining the access to adequate palliative care as a human right. Different activities and initiatives for palliative care and pain relief as a human right have been launched in recent years and have been at least partly successful and have raised the awareness for the issue. Congress President and resigning EAPC President Lukas Radbruch explained that from these activities four major objectives have emerged which will be in the focus of the Lisbon Challenge:

  1. Governments must ensure access to essential medicines, including opioid medications, to all who need them.
  2. Governments must develop health policies that address the needs of patients with life-limiting or terminal illnesses.
  3. Governments must ensure that healthcare workers receive adequate training on palliative care and pain management at undergraduate levels.
  4. Governments must ensure, through the development of structures and processes, the implementation of palliative care.

The joint initiative challenges the national governments to check how well they perform with these objectives. The Lisbon Challenge marks the begin of a two year plan for joint action, with the objective to obtain support for palliative care as a human rights issue from major international organisations such as the Council of Europe, the World Health Association, the World Medical Association and the International Council of Nurses. The Lisbon Challenge and the subsequent action plan will prepare the way for a resolution at the 13th Congress of EAPC in Prague in 2013, including major international organisations as partners, and a commitment towards major goals such as the development of good palliative care and the acknowledgement of adequate access to palliative care as a human right. The Lisbon Challenge and the action plan combine the expertise of the partners, and will provide excellent opportunities for advocacy work, with a patient-centred approach. This will also provide opportunities for palliative care professionals throughout Europe and beyond to participate in these activities, and to help advance palliative care in their country and region. We hope that the spirit of “reaching out” that was felt during the congress will not be lost, but can be kept with this exciting activity until the next EAPC congress in Prague, from 30th of May to the 2nd of June in 2013.

The spirit of "reaching out" that was visible throughout the congress.

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