FHSSA Executive Director Shares Letter Written to Washington Post
The following letter was sent to the Washington Post by FHSSA Executive Director. This timely message, written days before World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, draws attention to the importance of palliative care services.
October 4, 2007
The Washington Post
Michael Gerson’s “Ocean of Need” in Africa (10/03/07) highlights issues regarding treatment and prevention for AIDS in Africa. He fails to mention, however, the critical importance of hospice and palliative care as part of the treatment continuum. With over 6,000 people dying daily, the lack of care and medication at the end of life is unacceptable. Over 500,000 children died of AIDS last year in Africa – one every hour. As he points out, even with treatment mortality is expected to rise.
Hospice and palliative care programs also have a role to play in ensuring quality of life (and therefore adherence) for patients on treatment, and also in prevention. There are huge missed opportunities to give effective prevention messages in home settings where a loved one is dying a premature death.
The American/African hospice partnerships conducted by The Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa and the African Palliative Care Association are success stories in this Ocean of Need.
We urge Congress to pay adequate attention to hospice and palliative care as it takes up the issue of AIDS in Africa.
Philip G. Di Sorbo, MA
Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa