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Latin America has 922 palliative care services: less than what the region needs

This is highlighted by the 'Atlas of Palliative Care in Latin America', whose cartographic version has been led by the ATLANTES program of the University of Buenos Aires.

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From left to right, Juan José Pons, Carlos Centeno and Eduardo Garralda, members of the ICS team that worked on the cartographic version of the Atlas. PHOTO: Carlota Cortés
12/03/14 12:36 Isabel Solana

Since its introduction in the 1980s, palliative care has developed gradually in Latin America. There are currently 922 services in 19 countries: 1.63 services/teams/units per million inhabitants, which means that the majority of patients in this region with palliative care needs do not have access to it. These are some of the data data included in the Atlas of Palliative Care in Latin America, prepared by association Latin American Palliative Care (ALCP) and which has relied on the University of Navarra for its cartographic version.

The ALCP will present this version during the VII Latin American Palliative Care congress , to be held in Medellin (Colombia) from March 12-16, 2014. This is an initiative led by the program of research ATLANTES of Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) of the University of Navarra together with the IAHPC and the ALCP. This edition offers in a graphic way and through maps a summary of the information collected for the Atlas.

This is the first systematic study to gather information from all 19 Latin American countries (Spanish and Portuguese speaking). It was carried out by researchers from a group of work brought together by the ALCP at partnership with the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) and the (IAHPC) and the University of Navarra (Spain). The group team included Tania Pastrana (principal investigator), Liliana De Lima (director of project), Carlos Centeno (director scientific), Roberto Wenk, Jorge Eisenchlas, Carolina Monti and Javier Rocafort.

The project was supported by partnership from various institutions, including contributions from the Federación Médica de Buenos Aires (FEMEBA), the Hospital Centro de Cuidados Laguna (Spain) and the RWTH Aachen University (Germany). Funding was also provided by the Open Society Foundations (USA) and the Lima Bohmer Foundation (Colombia).

development slow and fragmented

The Atlas of Palliative Care in Latin America highlights that the development of palliative care in Latin America has been very slow and fragmented. Thus, the range goes from 16.06 services/teams/units per million inhabitants in Costa Rica to 0.24 in Honduras. Chile presents the highest absolute issue (277 services), while 46% of the services are located in Argentina and Chile, reaching 10% of the entire population of Latin America. This confirms the need for governments to adopt the necessary public policies and measures to ensure that the needs of the entire population are met.

With this project, the ALCP, the members of the group of work and representatives of the collaborating organizations aim to contribute to the expansion of palliative care throughout Latin America.

More information

Learn more about the about association Latin American Palliative Care (ALCP) and download the Atlas.

The cartographic edition of the Atlas is available for free on Google Play and the Apple Store. The app is called ics-ATLANTES.