More than 80 participants from 3 cities of Turkey as well as R4HC Partners in Jordan and the UK attended the palliative care workshop, which took place from 27th and 28th February 2020 at Hacettepe University Ankara Turkey under the theme ‘ Palliative Care in 2020 & Beyond’. The aim of the workshop was to provide an update on the current evidence, policy and practices of Palliative Care in Cancer at the global level and specifically, in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and the United Kingdom. This workshop was organized by Hacettepe University in collaboration with the King’s College London through R4HC-MENA and chaired by Professor Tezer Kutluk and Professor Richard Harding.

This workshop was facilitated by a diverse range of national and international palliative care experts, as well as bureaucrats from the Ministry of Health Turkey. It provided a good opportunity for multiple disciplinary participants including physicians, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, physiotherapists and researchers to have state of the art and up to date palliative care knowledge and practice in Turkey and around the world.

R4HC Co-Investigator Professor Tezer Kutluk opened the workshop with a presentation on the global burden of cancer and need for palliative care. R4HC Principal Investigator and Chair Professor Richard Sullivan spoke about the cancer policy connection with palliative care in the broader context of global cancer control. Professor Richard Harding provided a global update on palliative care policy and practice and his extensive research experience in palliative care enriched the discussions. Representing the Turkish Ministry of Health Dr. Pinar Kocatakan, explained Palliative care services in Turkey. Dr. Omar Shamieh provided insight of palliative care experience from the King Hussein Cancer Center in Jordan. Dr. Fahad Ahmed highlighted ethical aspects of end of life care.

Over the two-days, various training sessions were held for different dimensions of palliative care such as pain assessment, basic symptom management, nursing aspect of palliative care, care of the pediatric patient and public health perspective in palliative care. Julia Downing from the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN), UK and national experts from different specialties and disciplines also contributed to the program. The content of the workshop was praised by participants.

Alongside the main sessions, the key features of the workshop were three separate working group discussions. The objective of the working groups was to discuss holistic strategies for building and implementing palliative care through a multi-stakeholder approach in Turkey.

Key questions included:

  • Where do we want to see palliative care in 2030?
  • What are our goals?
  • What are the challenges and barriers?
  • How can we make it happen?

The diverse experiences of the speakers and attendees resulted in a highly constructive discussion through this insightful working group debate. It was concluded that there is an urge to implement a nationwide revised palliative care program with growing need to meet the demand of home care services at the end of life. With regard to challenges, it was highlighted that capacity strengthening in the form of education, training and research is essential.

Dr. Fahad Ahmed

Prof. Dr. Tezer Kutluk