The first day of June is International Children’s Day. On this day that celebrates and honours our children, the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) asks you to take a moment to think about the needs and hopes of those children who are living with a life limiting or life threatening illness and of their families.
The ICPCN estimates that worldwide there are 20 million children living with an illness or condition that could or will significantly shorten their lives and who would benefit from the provision of palliative care. In reality, a very small percentage of this number of children and their families are able to access these essential services. And in more than half the countries of the world, health professionals do not have adequate access to the medications that help to alleviate the needless suffering of their young patients.
A result of this lack of awareness and provision, particularly in the developing world, is an unacceptable number of children burdened daily with the distressing symptoms of their illness and in many instances, dying in severe and unnecessary pain.