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Duchess praises work of hospice
The Duchess of Cambridge praised the work of the hospice movement during her first speech on foreign soil.
She described the centres that care for and support the terminally ill as "life changing".
Kate gave her speech as she visited Hospis Malaysia, one of only a handful of medical institutions in the Commonwealth country providing support for dying patients.
William and staff and supporters from the hospice, based in Kuala Lumpur, listened as the Duchess highlighted how she had learnt the importance of palliative care through her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices.
Speaking slowly but clearly through a PA system she said: "Through this patronage, I have learnt that delivering the best possible palliative care to children is vital.
"Providing children and their families with a place of support, care and enhancement at a time of great need is simply life changing.
"With effective palliative care lives can be transformed. Treatment, support, care and advice can provide a lifeline to families at a time of great need."
Institutions dedicated to providing palliative treatment for those with terminal illnesses are rare in Malaysia and across the region where families either care for dying loved ones themselves or pay for it, if funds are available.
Dr Ednin Hamzah, chief executive and medical director of the charity Hospis Malaysia, said the very presence of the Duchess and the Duke at the hospice would send a message out across the region.
He said: "The impact of this (will be felt) not just in Malaysia but other countries Thailand, Philippines," and that it would highlight how politicians' priorities can sometimes lie with other issues. "This sort of thing doesn't exist, governments like other things they think are important."