The World Health Organization Definition of Palliative Care
Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial, and spiritual. Palliative care:
SOURCE: WHO (2002).
else for cancer exists. It can become the organizing principle for expanding cancer services. In either case, some official recognition of the need for and the requirements of palliative care are almost certain to be essential for progress. Ideally, medical, nursing, and social work students (and other relevant health care workers) will receive training in palliative care and practitioners will incorporate palliative care into routine practice. The starting point in each country for each of these aspects is likely to be somewhat different, depending on existing services and circumstances.
The starting point for this chapter is an overview of palliative care in Africa, the continent with the least developed programs. Because pain control is so central to palliative care, much of the remainder of the chapter is devoted to understanding the role of pain control in palliative care for