More than 800 000 babies, children and adolescents in South Africa have an illness or condition that is likely to shorten their lives.

About 304 441 of those children need specialised palliative care services as a result of a terminal diagnosis, such as genetic conditions, cancer, HIV and Aids, kidney failure and diseases of the heart and lungs.

However, only 14 501 children (4.76%), and mainly those close to the end of their lives, are receiving the services they need.

Palliative care ensures a good quality of life and minimises pain and suffering.

In KwaZulu-Natal, this means that 158 629 children are in need of generalised palliative care with 60 280 needing specialist care.

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