The Start of a New Movement: Access to Justice for Palliative Care Patients

  • Author: Tamar Ezer


Public Health Program. It all started in late 2006 when palliative care providers and legal advocates came together in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss how best to address the needs of patients with life-threatening illness, such as AIDS, TB, or cancer. The palliative care providers spoke of patients desperate to make arrangements for their children’s care, anxious about the disposition of their property and their family’s future, unable to access needed pain medication, falling into debt and struggling to secure social benefits, grappling with discrimination and violence, and laboring to navigate complex application procedures for identity documents and death certificates. The palliative care providers turned to their legal companions and urged, “Help us become better advocates for our patients.” Many of these issues are the bread and butter making up the daily work of legal service providers, and a partnership was born.

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