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Published: 25-08-2023

Putting community-based palliative care into practice through primary health care: policy, education and service delivery considerations for Sri Lanka

University of Warwick, Unit of Academic Primary Care, Coventry, CV4 7AL, United Kingdom
Community-based care Palliative care Primary health care Sri Lanka


Introduction: Palliative care services must be expanded in all settings, most notably at the primary health care level. Objective: This paper aimed to stimulate a discussion on how to promote the deployment of community-based palliative care services that address the holistic palliative care needs of the people through primary health care in Sri Lanka. Methods: A literature search was conducted using key databases using search terms concerning palliative care and primary health care. In addition, government and international websites were searched to identify reports, guidelines, policy documents, and global and country-specific reports on palliative care in the primary healthcare context. Articles and documents produced in English and Sinhala from the year 2000 onward were collected, analyzed, and presented narratively. Results: Following its recognition by  National Health Policy 2016-2025, several others (National Strategic Framework for Palliative Care Development, National Multisectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases, National Elderly Health Policy, National Strategic Plan on Prevention and Control of Cancer, Primary care policy, HIV/AIDS policy, Mental Health Policy, etc.) had identified palliative care as a priority area. National Cancer Control Programme has conducted various training and refresher programs, developed publications and training materials, and supportive guidelines and circulars on Palliative Care targeting different categories of primary health care workers. The Palliative Care and End of Life Care Taskforce and the College of Palliative Medicine of Sri Lanka have also developed several publications. Limited home-based palliative care is delivered at present through Public Health Nursing Officers. Primary preventive health services involvement in palliative care provision at present was negligible. Conclusion: Despite many positive factors, there is still much to improve in policy, education, and service delivery on palliative care. By incorporating both primary palliative care and public health palliative care strategies in primary care, Sri Lanka has the potential to greatly improve community-based palliative care


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How to Cite

Nawaratne, S. D. (2023). Putting community-based palliative care into practice through primary health care: policy, education and service delivery considerations for Sri Lanka. International Journal of College of Palliative Medicine of Sri Lanka, 1(2).