New regional project “Palliative Care – My Care, My Right” is jointly implemented by members of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights network (YIHR), BELhospice (Serbia), Sue Ryder Care (Albania) and Civic Alliance (Montenegro) supported by Balkan Civil Society Development Network Skopje, (BCSDN Skopje) with funding provided by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

Regional project is aimed at enhancing the capacity of CSO to play a vital role in the implementation of palliative care and protection of human rights of the most vulnerable groups – patients with life limiting illnesses and their families in Serbia, Albania and Montenegro.

The project started by conducting a research aimed at identifying needs/barriers for the implementation of palliative care in all three countries. Also, advocacy actions for implementation of an integrated palliative care approach, policy changes as well as capacity building of key service providers will be implemented through the project aimed at improving the skills and knowledge of the institutional health and social providers and CSOs.

Civic dialogue and cross sectoral cooperation will be promoted through all actions aimed at recognition of palliative care as a human right, enhancing the cross sectoral cooperation and fostering partnerships among public institutions, local governments and CSOs.

The project duration is 10 months and will be implemented from January to October 2021.

Project partners BELhospice centre, Ryder Albania and Civic Alliance are greatly thankful to the donors SIDA and BCSDN Skopje for supporting this initiative.

Palliative care is at an early stage of development in all three countries, Serbia, Albania and Montenegro, which are facing challenges of an aging population and an increased number of cancer patients, and patients with neurological and other life threatening illnesses. Services are not provided according to the needs of patients who often encounter violation of their rights. Integrated palliative care practices and a holistic approach are rarely implemented due to the lack of legal policies and organisational capacities. CSOs are not recognised as viable palliative care service providers as is the case in developed countries.