At this moment, over a million people in India are in unimaginable pain. We refuse to look the other way. We choose to hear the cry, and to do what we can.
Please join us. Your help is needed.

Dr M. R. Rajagopal receives Navjeevan Inspiration of the year award

2017 March 24

Dr M. R. Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, has been conferred the Navjeevan Inspiration of the Year award by Navjeevan school, Nalanchira, Trivandrum. The award, consisting of a plaque and ₹50,000, was handed over to Dr Rajagopal by K. Muralidharan MLA, at a function in Trivandrum on March 23, 2017.

The Navjeevan Inspiration award has been established by the school to honour value-based social contribution by an individual. In a unique selection process, students (with the help of their parents) were asked to submit nominations. Dr M R Rajagopal came first with an overwhelming majority.

While accepting the award, Dr Rajagopal said that the award money will be used for Pallium India’s patient care activities.

Thank you, students and staff of Navjeevan school, for this honour.

Scholarship Program for Palliative Care Certificate Courses

2017 March 21

Indo American Cancer Association (IACA), in association with TIPS (an organ of Pallium India), offers scholarship to undergo 6 weeks residential/non residential palliative care training course at selected centres in India.

Scholarship is offered for the CCPPM and CCPN courses beginning on June 5, 2017 at the following centres:

Type of Scholarship

  • Depends on performance of the candidate in the telephonic interview conducted by IACA interview panel.
  • Full support to the outstation candidates, including travel, accommodation, canteen, local travel, fees with cap on all items.
  • For local candidates, support for registration fee is provided.

Please note: Last date to send in applications: 1st May, 2017

For more information on all our courses, please visit: http://palliumindia.org/courses

Believe the patient about her pain

2017 March 21

“Even when we suspected that a part of her pain could be psychological, we never doubted that her pain was genuine,” writes Dr M. S. Biji, a palliative care physician, about a 19-year old named Jeny who was admitted to her hospital with cancer.

Jeny had excruciating pain, but she was not responding to morphine, which she was taking every 4 hours. Even with increased doses of morphine, her pain was not getting better and she was sweating all the time. For a while, this made some members in the treating team wonder if she really did have pain.

Could it be possible that Jeny had some underlying depression making her feel severe pain? Emotional issues could greatly contribute to pain and that kind of pain would be unlikely to respond to opioids. But on careful observation, they came to the conclusion that poor control of pain was perhaps caused only by inadequate dose of morphine. So they kept increasing the dose of morphine, and sure enough, Jeny’s pain came under control.

Dr Biji observes: “Pain in cancer, in many instances is under-diagnosed or under-treated. Failure to assess pain is a major factor leading to under-treatment.” When the palliative care team believed the young woman’s report of her pain, they were able to arrive at the right combination of medicines to treat her pain, and to relieve her intolerable suffering.

Please read the complete article, Believing Jeny About Her Pain, published in the Journal of Pain and Palliative Care Pharmacotherapy.

The Journal of Pain and Palliative care Pharmacotherapy is an indexed journal that has made the narratives free access. The journal welcomes your Narratives on Pain, Suffering and Relief. Tell your story to the world and help improve palliative care awareness. If you have a story to narrate, share it with us. Write to info@palliumindia.org

“Isn’t palliative care depressing?”

2017 March 20

Here is one more answer to the frequently asked question to palliative care practitioners, “How can you do this work year in and year out? Don’t you get depressed?”

Dr Vidya Viswanath, palliative care physician and Pallium India’s fellow traveller from Vizag writes:

“Every day brings a new challenge, a new thought and new frustrations in dealing with the huge gap between demand and supply. I saw 3 terribly disfigured head and neck cancer patients with maggots, with HIV and zero social support in two days. Just when I was in despair, I also had the privilege of taking one of our old patients with Ca Buccal mucosa to the hospice in our bus and then my car. He walked in and had his entire family around and died serenely the same night. I felt I was seeing Buddha in his disfigured face. And that is how I try to find my balance.”

Congratulations, everyone. Palliative care finds a place in India’s national health policy 2017.

2017 March 20

The Government of India has announced the National Health Policy 2017. We are so happy to note that many hopes of the palliative care fraternity have found a place in the document.

Some major features relevant to palliative care are:

  • Healthcare Spending by the Government would double – to 2.5% of GDP by the year 2025.
  • The objectives mention specifically, “Improve health status through concerted policy action in all sectors and expand preventive, promotive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative services provided through the public health sector with focus on quality.”
  • Community or home-based palliative care is included among the responsibilities of frontline health workers.
  • Palliative care is mentioned as 1 essential feature of primary health care.
  • In child and adolescent’s health, district hospitals have been specifically asked to provide palliative care.
  • The policy recognizes the growing need for palliative and rehabilitative care for all geriatric illnesses and advocates for continuity of care across all levels.
  • It recommends starting specialised nursing training courses in areas including “palliative care and care of the terminally ill”.
  • In primary health care, particularly in urban health care, health and wellness centres are to be developed and they are to include palliative care.
  • Right to healthcare is mentioned as covering ‘a wide canvas, encompassing issues of preventive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare across rural and urban areas’,
  • In school health, incorporation of health education as part of curriculum is mentioned.
  • The policy recommends integration of medical and paramedical education with service delivery systems.

There are some disappointments, however. Representation to the government regarding the National health policy had also emphasised the need to include palliative care into the educational curricula of medical, nursing, pharmacy and social work courses. We had also requested for refining the legal and regulatory system to improve access to opioids for pain relief. These have not found a specific place in the policy document.

Long Way to go!

Here are the various evaluations that appeared in the media:

The Wire: India’s New National Health Policy is Ambitious on Paper But Lacks Clarity

Indian Express: What is National Health Policy 2017: Everything you need to know

The Hindu: National health policy 2017: A road map for health

First Post: India’s new national health policy is just a repackaged version of the 2002 plan