LIMA – Only 1 percent of the 4 million people who need palliative care in Latin America have access to it, the head of the Latin American Association for Palliative Care (ALCP) said on Thursday.
On the sidelines of a high-level conference in Lima, Dr. Tania Pastrana told EFE that palliative care services “exist in every Latin American country” and have been making strides over the years.
Even so, she said, the improvements “remain insufficient,” as inequality still persists, not only between countries, but also within individual nations.
According to Pastrana, palliative care – which offers an array of services to the terminally ill – is generally neglected in Latin American countries, who focus more on “healing, prevention and rehabilitation,” often overlooking the practice’s role in the full spectrum of universal healthcare coverage.
The doctor also said that more countries have been taking a different approach to healthcare, with Uruguay, Argentina, Costa Rica and Chile taking the lead.
In contrast, countries like Peru, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia and Honduras still lag behind in terms of palliative care, while Panama, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala and Paraguay are somewhere in the middle.
Cancer, HIV, dementia, liver and lung disease and kidney failure, are among the conditions that require palliative care in Latin America.