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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2021  –  October 9 

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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) is annually observed across the globe on the 2nd Saturday of October to highlight the need for global palliative care and to highlight the vital role of palliative care.

  • The day also aims to ensure that everyone has access to palliative care, regardless of where they live, age or background.
  • This is a day of action to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care across the globe.

The 2021 World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD) falls on 9th October 2021.

  • The 2020 WHPCD was observed on 10th October 2020
  • The 2022 WHPCD will be observed on 8th October 2022.

The theme of the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2021 is “Leave no one behind – equity in access to palliative care”.


The day is hosted by the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA), a network of hospice and palliative care for national and regional organisations, and the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN).

Hospice care:

i.Hospice care is a type of health care that focuses on the palliation of a terminally ill patient’s pain and symptoms and attending to their emotional and spiritual needs at the end of life.

ii.This prioritizes comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering.

Palliative care:

i.Palliative care is specialized medical care for people living with a serious illness.

ii.It focuses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness and aims to improve the quality of life for both the patients and their families.

iii.This is a part of universal health coverage across various countries.

WHO – Over 56.8 million people need palliative care each year: 

Prior to the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released 2 resources which includes

  • WHO Technical report on a globally applicable and robust set of palliative care indicators for countries across the globe.
  • Technical brief on quality of health services and palliative care.

The resources address the need to scale up the access to quality palliative care services.


i.It is estimated that more than 56.8 million people across the globe are in need of palliative care of which more than 78% live in low and middle-income countries.

ii.It is also estimated that only 1 in 10 people, who are in need of palliative care, are receiving it.

iii.The demand for care for people with life-threatening illnesses is increasing with the increase in population age and the burden on non-communicable diseases.

iv.The need for palliative care is expected to double by 2060.

Key Points:

According to the WHO, palliative care is available to the patients at the primary health care(PHC) facilities in 50% of the countries, where the funding is allocated as compared to 15% of the countries where there is no dedicated function for palliative care.

About Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance (WHPCA):

Executive Director– Stephen Connor
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom