Rare illnesses claim the lives of more children than cancer each year in Spain

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STAFF: More trained professionals are needed to staff paediatric palliative care units. CREDIT: Shutterstock

ALMOST three thousand children die in palliative care in Spain every year, with the majority of infant deaths caused by rare diseases.

The director of the Master’s Degree in Paediatric Palliative Care at the International University of La Roja (UNIR), Ricardo Martino has been quoted in Spanish press confirming that between 2,500 and 3,000 children lose their lives annually.

And that cancer accounts for 12 per cent of these deaths, with the biggest cause being neurological or degenerative diseases and malformation syndromes from birth, such as cerebral palsy.

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Paediatric palliative care (PPC) staff are responsible for the ‘life’ of children, not their ‘death’ he is reported to have said, and that they are fundamentally concerned with ensuring the patients ‘live well until they die’.

In the last four year, autonomous communities have been setting up PPC teams that, in their opinion, should be made up of at least two doctors, two nurses, a psychologist and a social worker.

In light of this, Martino stressed 300 trained professionals are necessary to ‘meet the needs of 8,000 and 15,000 people’ who each year require the services of these units’.

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