Jan Stjernswärd MD, PhD, FRCP (Edin),
As Chief Cancer, WHO, (1980-1996), Jan reoriented the WHO Global Cancer Program so that existing knowledge could be used to benefit all, including those in low and middle income countries ,where the majority of those needing palliative care were shown to be.
He introduced palliative care into the WHO cancer program, initiated and was responsible for the WHO definition of palliative care, established the first international consensus for a valid, simple pain relief method, the “WHO pain ladder”, and introduced strategies, priorities, guidelines and recommendations for implementation of pain relief and palliative care, accompanied by strong advocacy and built up a network reaching worldwide. Palliative care was made a mandatory part for a National Cancer Control Program .He involved relevant Governmental organizations, e.g. INCB, IAEA, Ministries of Health, NGOs , e.g. UICC, OSI, IFPMA; IASP, APS from the beginning with the multidisciplinary world experts in the network. WHO Demonstration projects, one in Catalonia, Spain, now with over 20 years follow ups and the other in Kerala, India have demonstrated, that it is possible to cover the majority of those in need of palliative care in large populations, independent of the cause and Uganda was the first country in Africa making palliative care and morphine availability a part of its National Health Policy Strategy based on the WHO strategy.
Jan, over the years, has been supporting numerous countries and Ministries of Health, National NGOs and Societies, to establish national palliative care programs. He has actively advocated for palliative care to become a Right to Health and Human Right.
Jan took his MD and PhD from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, became a Specialist in Radiotherapy/Oncology, did basic laboratory research in Tumorbiology, was Director of a Cancer Institute where he created and lead large controlled clinical trials for breast- and lung cancer, has been listed as the first to use meta-analysis of controlled medical clinical trials, was Professor in Oncology and has worked as doctor in Sweden, Kenya, South Africa, USA and Denmark. Jan put already in the early 1980 the need for cancer control and palliative care in the developing countries as a priority with strong advocacy, facts for the need, and with pragmatic comprehensive strategies and priorities for addressing it so as to reach all. Up until now Jan has been fully active with helping countries, around 50 worldwide to establish national palliative care and cancer control programs according to the comprehensive strategies he established in WHO.