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Important Care Advance for Mexico's Incurably Ill

Human Rights Watch
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December 11, 2014

A 70-year-old patient with melanoma passed away at the palliative care unit at the National Cancer Institute in Mexico City, Mexico on August 28, 2014. His daughter brought him in earlier that day, after traveling with her father for hours because palliative care was not available close to their home. (Ed Kashi/Human Rights Watch)

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican Health Ministry took an important step this week to ensure access to palliative care for people suffering from pain due to incurable illness, Human Rights Watch said. The government released long-awaited guidelines to its healthcare system that will operationalize provisions on end-of-life care outlined in Mexico’s 2009 health law.

“The publication of these guidelines is an important step toward ensuring that people who are dying in Mexico not only have a right to care in theory but also in practice,” said Diederik Lohman, associate health director at Human Rights Watch. “Now Mexico’s progressive law can finally be put into operation.”

In October Human Rights Watch highlighted, in a 122-page report, the barriers faced by tens of thousands of patients who suffer unnecessarily from severe pain and other symptoms. Although the Health Ministry was supposed to issue the guidance within six months of the 2009 law coming into effect, it was held up for years, delaying the effect of the law.

Needless Suffering in Mexico (HumanRightsWatch)

Mexico’s health law offers extensive rights to people who are terminally ill and have six months or less to live. It states that all hospitals should offer palliative care to such patients, including in their homes, and that all healthcare workers should receive adequate training in palliative care.

Read the rest at Human Rights Watch

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