Implementation of Palliative Care in Palestine: Cultural and Religious Perspectives

Rania Abu Seir* and Akram Kharroubi

Implementation of Palliative Care in Palestine: Cultural and Religious Perspectives

The care of terminally ill cancer patients poses a significant global public health problem.
Populations are growing older as healthcare interventions become increasingly more effective
in the management of chronic diseases.

Care of the terminally ill patients has evolved significantly over the centuries
in the developed countries from Hospice services to highly specialized
palliative care programs and facilities.

In the Middle East, the progress in this area has been very slow over the last two decades
which could be attributed to several reasons including the lack of education, training,
budgets and several other barriers.

Although age projection for Palestinians does not indicate generational transition
toward an older population, yet the increasing incidence of cancer cases and other
chronic diseases that need palliation, alerts the policy makers to the crucial need
of introducing and developing palliative care services.

Thus, the aim of this paper is to: 1) Reflect on the need and access of the Palestinians living in the
West Bank and Gaza Strip to palliative care; 2) Define the factors that might interfere with
the proper introduction of palliative care; and 3) Focus on the positive compensatory effect of
religion and culture on palliative care.

The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the end of 2016 was
4.88 million (61% and 39%, respectively. Palestinians live in refugee camps were about 41.9%
distributed between the West Bank and Gaza strip, and 16.7% live in rural areas (2.7% in Gaza
Strip compared to 25.6% in the West Bank.

Palliat Med Hosp Care Open J. 2017; SE(1): S4-S9. doi: 10.17140/PMHCOJ-SE-1-102