Difficulties in Developing Hospice or End-of-Life Care Hospitals in Developing Countries

Mahrukh Zaidi*

Difficulties in Developing Hospice or End-of-Life Care Hospitals in Developing Countries

According to the United Nations statistics, Pakistan is currently listed as a developing
country. Implementing palliative services has come across as a big challenge and possesses
various risks, not only because it is a developing country but also due to communal extremism.

Muslims being the predominant community, the country has been dealing with extremism
in the name of Islam . The citizens are constantly under the threat of extremists and religious
leaders who enforce them to follow stringent rules and restrictions, defying which can lead to
dangerous consequences.

Pakistan being an Islamic Republic, females are the most affected amongst all when it
comes to seeking medical or palliative services. The strict rules and regulations restricts female
patients from seeking palliative support, since they are expected to be handled by female staff
nurses only.

This comes across as rather inconvenient when treatment is sought for terminally
ill patients as well as for sexual, gynecological dysfunctions.

Reportedly, 40% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line,
where access to basic necessasities such as clean food, water and sanitation is a luxury;
things that only the privileged can afford.

Apart from this, famine, starvation and susceptibility to infections
and deadly diseases have been major causes for massive mortality.

For families of patients with such advanced or end stage diseases,
it is often a huge liability and hence they are at times just
left to die unattended, or fall prey to mercy-killing by some quacks,
where they are quite inhumanly gotten rid off.

Palliat Med Hosp Care Open J. 2017; SE(1): S73-S74. doi: 10.17140/PMHCOJ-SE-1-115