Palliative care in the Eastern Mediterranean: comparative analysis using specific indicators
Palliative care
Specialized services
Public health
Eastern Mediterranean
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BioMed Central
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Sánchez-Cárdenas, M.A., Pourghazian, N., Garralda, E. et al. Palliative care in the Eastern Mediterranean: comparative analysis using specific indicators. BMC Palliat Care 21, 168 (2022)
Background Monitoring the development of palliative care (PC) illustrates the capacity of health systems to respond to the needs of people experiencing serious health-related suffering. Aim To analyse comparatively the situation of PC in the countries of the Easter Mediterranean region using context-specific indicators. Method An online questionnaire with 15 context-specific PC indicators investigating service provision, use of medicines, policy, education, and vitality was designed. Authors Institution 1 nominated in-country experts to complete the survey. Data were analysed using a comparative description of indicators per domain and a multivariate analysis. Results In-country experts were identified in 17/22 countries. 12/17 contributed to the survey. In total, 117 specialized PC services were identified. Specialized services per population ranges from 0.09 per 100,000 inhabitants in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait; to zero services in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. On average, opioid consumption was 2.40 mg/capita/year. National PC strategies were reported in nine countries. In six countries, PC is officially accredited either as a specialty or sub-specialty, and PC mandatory courses are implemented in 36% of medical schools and 46% of nursing schools. National PC associations were documented in six countries. A higher pattern of development was identified in Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar. Conclusions Despite a higher development in the Arabian Peninsula, the region is characterised by a very low provision of specialized PC services and opioid consumption. Policy improvements represent an opportunity to improve access to PC.

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