GHF: Space technologies & Cancer in LMICs

ES2-3: Palliative care for Cancer patients in low and middle income countries

Palliative care covers both physical and mental health, whilst it is not a disease specific procedure, it can be covered under many aspects. Palliative care was discussed in the context of Cancer in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), among which less that 10% have palliative care included in their primary health care. Many elements come across the effective implementation of palliative care: lack of funds and insurance, of morphine, of data,and it is also highly charged symbolically for both the physician and the patient, since it is accepting the fact that the treatment against cancer is no longer needed and that death is the next step. It must be acknowledged that it is a human right to die without pain and that people should to die with dignity.
 
When a treatment is available and can be attempted, it is possible to “get stuck” in that treatment and not thinkable to accept palliative care. Palliative care also occurs when there is no treatment available, in various contexts. Not only do we have to understand the culture of the communities, but the culture of the physicians as well. Indeed, there’s a lack of education and communication from the doctors regarding palliative care. Most of the time, it is easier not to say anything rather than announcing that nothing else can be done, especially when children are involved.

In many countries, it is illegal to import or prescribe morphine because of the current opioid crisis – when actually it can be said that the crisis is the fact of not taking care of this issue. Even in countries where it is legal to prescribe morphine, it is not part of the list of essential reimbursed medicines. Strong advocacy is required to support local organisations, local practitioners and local communities. A lot of challenges remain in regard to palliative care: the acknowledgement of palliative care in general; the allowance to prescribe morphine, how to manage patients in pain when it is not available, and the coverage of the population including rural and remote areas. 
 PS4-5: Space science and technologies to advance health-related sustainable development goals
There is need for the creation of a roadmap to interlink health and the SDG target,  in order to identify the specific technologies needed to meet objectives. Space technology encompasses many dimensions of health, including climate action, safe water, life on earth, life below earth and natural disasters.  Applications of space technology include  mapping of land use change, mapping WASH and NTDs, road networks, surface temperature,  the incidence of heat stroke, and also mapping spread of vector-borne diseases. The WHO is currently utilising space technology in 3 areas: epidemic intelligence, public health emergencies as well as shaping the research agenda.  In order to incorporate space technologies into the system, multi-sectoral engagement is vital and we should align efforts to reduce gaps in data collection and impact. Jason Hutton (European Space Agency) highlighted the various activities of ESA which are relevant to health. Already 300 projects are carried out which target the SDGs. Examples include earth observation data (through satellites), telemedicine and deployable labs. Finally, it is important to consider that space technology for health may not only be applied at the global level, but also at the national and local level.
Written by:
Sylvia BasterrecheaMia ClausinQin Han and Nefti-Eboni Bempong