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Launch Meeting | September 2014

Commissioners and Scientific Advisory Committee members attending the September 23, 2014 launch meeting. From left to right, seated: Sir George Alleyne, Huda Abu-Saad Huijer, Richard Horton, Felicia Knaul, Julio Frenk, M.R. Rajagopal, Sania Nishtar. From left to right, standing: Rafael Lozano Asencio, Kathleen Foley, Eric Krakauer, Faith Mwangi-Powell, Diederik Lohman, Snezana Bosnjak, Gary Rodin, Dean Jamison.

The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief (GAPCPR) was launched in September 2014 to respond to the equity and health imperative of closing the global divide in access to palliative care, with a special focus on the most basic need to control pain and alleviate avoidable suffering focusing on systemic solutions and tools in the context of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

In the March 2015 issue, The Lancet announced the Commission. The Commission was launched through the Harvard Global Equity Initiative. Leadership of the Commission is now based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, working closely with Harvard University through the Harvard School of Public Health and the Harvard Global Equity Initiative.

GAPCPR breaks new ground in knowledge creation by promoting collaboration that has not before been in place between the fields of health systems and global health, and pain control and palliative care. The Commission brings together 35 leading experts –all of whom serve in an honorary and voluntary capacity without remuneration from a range of fields and disciplines and representing 20 countries and all major world regions.

The Commission includes three working groups: Economic Evaluation and Metrics, Models and Innovations, and Universal Health Coverage/Health Systems and Palliative Care. The working groups have conducted extensive analysis and have generated the knowledge inputs required to write the Lancet report. The work of the each group has been extensive, and there are opportunities for producing stand-alone papers and products in addition to the Lancet report that will provide practical national, regional and global guidance and proposals to close the pain divide.

The Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief (GAPCPR) aims to conduct novel analysis on the links between health systems strengthening and access to pain control and palliative care, using the diagonal approach as a guiding framework.

The objectives of the Commission are multi-fold:

  • To contribute to global discussions on universal health coverage (UHC) and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well as the momentum at the country level in various low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)
  • To identify opportunities for incorporating pain relief and palliative care within health reforms to strengthen health systems and achieve effective UHC
  • To develop core instruments for expanding priority setting to include human dignity and freedom from unnecessary pain and suffering and thus enable policy makers to incorporate palliative care into priority setting
  • To develop proposals for health system strengthening to meet disease specific and overall needs for pain relief and palliative care
  • To provide recommendations for innovative health strategies that harness national and global platforms