First ever Atlas on palliative care published by UN health agencyListen /
Only one in 10 people who need medical pain relief actually receives it according to a publication released on Tuesday.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) have jointly published the "Global Atlas of Palliative Care at the End of Life."
WHO says palliative care is more than just pain relief but includes addressing the physical, psychological and emotional suffering of patients with serious advanced illnesses.
It also aims to support family members providing care to loved ones.
Dr Cecilia Sepulveda, WHO's Senior Adviser on Chronic Diseases Prevention and Management, says that each year about 40 million people are in need of end of life care.
"So we have to reach those patients and try to relieve their suffering and also help their family members. The Atlas is providing these estimates but is also mapping the services. And if you look at the Atlas you will find huge unmet needs. Only one in ten people that need palliative care are getting palliative care and the majority of these people live in low and middle income countries which face the biggest burden." (23")
Dr. Sepulveda says WHO Member States are supporting palliative care, which she says is an important topic they will discuss at the next World Health Assembly.
Derrick Mbatha, United Nations