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CommonHealth. 2005 Spring; 36-43.As defined by the World Health Organization (WHO):2 Palliative medicine is the study and management of patients with active, progressive, far advanced disease for whom the prognosis is limited and the focus of care is the quality of life. [It is] the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social, and spiritual problems, is paramount. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best quality of life for patients and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are applicable earlier in the course of the illness, in conjunction with treatment. Palliative care: Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process; Neither hastens, nor postpones, death; Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms; Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patient care; Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death; and Offers a support system to help families cope during a patient's illness and with their own bereavement. In short, palliative care comprehensively addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual impact a life-threatening illness has on a person, no matter the stage of the illness. It places the sick person and his/her family, however defined, at the center of care and aggressively addresses all of the symptoms and problems experienced by them. Many healthcare providers apply certain elements of the palliative care treatment approach-- such as comprehensive care and aggressive symptom management-- to the care of all of their patients, not only those who are terminally ill, offering the type of care we would all like to receive when we are sick. (excerpt)
Antiretroviral therapy in primary health care: experience of the Khayelitsha programme in South Africa. Case study.
Geneva, Switzerland, WHO, 2003. 10 p. (Perspectives and Practices in Antiretroviral Treatment)With 42 million people now living with HIV/AIDS, expanding access to antiretroviral treatment for those who urgently need it is one of the most pressing challenges in international health. Providing treatment is essential to alleviate suffering and to mitigate the devastating impact of the epidemic. It also presents unprecedented opportunities for a more effective response by involving people living with HIV/AIDS, their families and communities in care and will strengthen HIV prevention by increasing awareness, creating a demand for testing and counselling and reducing stigma and discrimination. The challenges are great. Sustainable financing is essential. Drug procurement and regulatory mechanisms must be established. Health care workers must be trained, infrastructure improved, communities educated and diverse stakeholders mobilized to play their part. This series, Perspectives and Practice in Antiretroviral Treatment, provides examples of how such challenges are being overcome in the growing number of developing countries in which antiretroviral treatment programmes are underway. The case studies and analyses in this series show how governments, civil society organizations, private corporations and others are successfully providing antiretroviral treatment and care to people with HIV/AIDS, even in the most resource-constrained settings. In documenting these pioneering programmes, WHO hopes that their experiences will both inform and inspire everyone who is working to make access to treatment a reality. (excerpt)
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 2004 Jan 3; 328:10.Dr Lee Jong-wook, director general of the World Health Organization, has said that the organisation’s goal of getting lifesaving antiretroviral drugs to three million patients with HIV or AIDS in the developing world by 2005 presents a golden opportunity to put in place desperately needed basic healthcare systems. In the preface to WHO’s annual report on global health Dr Lee said that funds for tackling the AIDS crisis could in turn establish lasting health systems for the future treatment and prevention of disease in the developing world. (excerpt)