WHO Sasakawa Health Prize Award Ceremony

Geneva, Switzerland

It is my honor and pleasure to congratulate the Pro Palliative Care Unit Foundation for being awarded, the 34th Sasakawa Health Prize. This foundation has provided palliative care for children with terminal illnesses and their families in Costa Rica for more than 25 years.

The Sasakawa Health Prize was established by The Nippon Foundation in 1984 in support of “Health for All” which, as you know is one of the major goals of WHO.

The Prize is awarded to individuals and organizations that have accomplished outstanding innovative work in health development.

I have met children with life-threatening illnesses through various projects of The Nippon Foundation. I know that in addition to suffering physical pain and symptoms, they must live with many restrictions in daily life. They also experience psychological anxiety and live in constant fear.

The Pro Palliative Care Unit Foundation provides holistic care to children with terminal illnesses, which includes physical, psychological, social and spiritual care. This approach seeks to create a peaceful and comfortable environment that contributes to the enhancement of their quality of life.

The foundation also channels community resources to meet the various needs of their families. It works with doctors, nurses, universities, and local volunteer groups to meet psychological as well as economic needs.

I understand that in many countries, this sort of care for children with terminal illnesses and their families is not adequate. It goes without saying that there is much for us to learn from the work of this foundation. It is an important step toward achieving our common goal of “Health for All.”