Continuing Medical Education

Paediatric palliative medicine

Patricia Lück


In November 2013, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), based in South Africa, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released a document entitled Assessment of the Need for Palliative Care for Children. Three Country Report: South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe. It reported that, even though an underestimate, >800 000 children in South Africa were in need of generalised palliative care and >300 000 in need of specialised palliative care. Moreover, it was estimated that only 5% of children requiring specialised care were being reached. This low coverage was a result of ‘inadequate inclusion of children’s palliative care within policy and strategy frameworks; widespread lack of knowledge and adequate understanding among health professionals; narrow target focus of services being provided already; the reluctance of health workers to prescribe and/or administer morphine despite the availability of essential palliative care pharmaceutical agents, resulting in a major barrier for access to comprehensive pain management; funding constraints and attendant poor integration of palliative care into the health system’.

Author's affiliations

Patricia Lück, Gauteng Centre of Excellence for Palliative Care, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Wits Centre for Palliative Care, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Palliative medicine

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2014;104(7):505-506. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.8428

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-05-07
Date published: 2014-05-22

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