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The Lancet Commission: 10 Facts about children’s suffering and need for palliative care

Author: Sue Boucher
24 October 2017

Ten facts related to children from The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief.

A downloadable fact sheet has been created alongside the recent publication of The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief which provides 10 facts about children's suffering and need for palliative care. 

These ten facts are as follows:

  1. Serious health-related suffering (SHS) is associated with illness or injury of any kind that could be ameliorated by palliative care and pain treatment.
  2. More than 5.3 million children aged 15 years or younger experience SHS each year worldwide.
  3. Children and their families have specific and intensive palliative care needs that can easily be overlooked because the absolute number of paediatric patients is low compared with adults.
  4. Children account for 9% of patients who experience SHS, 5% of total days with SHS days, and 6% of days in pain.
  5. One third of all children who died in 2015 experienced SHS.
  6. Every year nearly 2.5 million children die needing palliative care and pain relief and more than 98% of these children are from developing countries.
  7. Over 90% of all paediatric deaths associated with SHS in low-income countries are avoidable.
  8. In low-income countries, childhood deaths account for more than 30% of all deaths associated with SHS, compared with less than 1% in high-income countries.
  9. More than 50% of the burden of SHS in children in low-income countries is associated with HIV disease.
  10. At best international medicine prices, the cost of covering the unmet need for opioid analgesics in all children with SHS in low-income countries is just over 1 million USD per year, which is only 63 cents per child in need. 

The full report as well as this Fact Sheet can be downloaded from the ICPCN website

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