This declaration originated at a High Level National Stakeholder meeting for children with serious illness in Braamfontein, South Africa on 18 March 2019, co-hosted by Patch-South Africa and the South African government’s National Department of Health. The declaration articulates the need for children’s palliative care to be recognised and for palliative care services for children to be implemented across the country.


Remembering the ICPCN Declaration of Cape Town 2009,

Recognising our country’s ratification of the World Health Assembly Resolution 67.19 May 2014 “Strengthening of palliative care as a component of comprehensive care throughout the life course”,

We commit to working with government and all stakeholders having an interest in the health and welfare of children experiencing severe health related suffering, to implement paediatric/children’s palliative care throughout South Africa within both public and private health care sectors.

Realising that children are not small adults and that the spectrum of diseases including rare diseases affecting them is different, and that they are more vulnerable by virtue of the fact that they are dependent on adult caregivers for care and decision making.

We support the government’s National Policy Framework and Strategy on Palliative Care and call on government to implement this policy which was approved by the National Health Council in April 2017 with special provision for meeting the needs of children and their families.

We recognise that under Section 28 of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Africa, government has a duty to realise children’s right to palliative care as part of basic health care services and as a component of Universal Health Coverage and that International human rights law obligates South Africa to provide generalist integrated and specialised paediatric palliative care services.

We call upon Government to find the budget to implement the policy and allocate resources, since according to Section 237 of the Constitution, government is required to perform its obligations diligently and without delay. The implementation is to include pain relief medicines for children and training on paediatric palliative care.

We call on all relevant stakeholders both governmental and non-governmental to commit to working together to implement palliative care for children throughout all provinces of South Africa.

This declaration includes an Appendix of recommendations arising from discussions at the meeting, structured using the World Health Organisation model for integrating palliative care in to the public health system and further proposes for similar integration into private health care for children in South Africa.

See the link for Recommendations arising from 18 March 2019 meeting: