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.

India’s finance minister puts on record commitment to palliative care:

2016 April 29

At the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs at New York on 19 April 2016, Mr Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister said:

“India is committed to ensure the availability of controlled substances for medical and scientific purposes, while preventing their diversion, abuse and trafficking and ensure availability of drugs for palliative care, pain relief and opioid substitution therapy for cancer patients and drug abuse victims and has in May, 2015 notified uniform and simplified rules relating to ‘Essential Narcotic Drugs’ to remove regulatory barriers”.

The department of Revenue of Ministry of Finance has for the last two decades been pro-active about the principle of balance – that while preventing abuse, we also have a responsibility to make opioid medication available for those who in pain. Thank you Mr Arun Jaitley and thank you, all at department of Revenue.

Click here to read the statement by Mr Arun Jaitley.

Palliative care nurses conference in Kerala – the first ever

2016 April 29

Nurses conference smCongratulations to palliative care nurses in Kerala. Out of their own initiative, the first nurses’ palliative care conference was conducted on 22, 23 April 2016 in Kozhikode.

We hear it was a huge success. The enthusiasm of the participants went way beyond the organizers’ expectations. They had arranged a hall which could accommodate 450. Somehow, they managed to squeeze in 550, and still had to turn many away. A lot of educational programs were conducted and greedily lapped up by the participants. Pallium India’s training coordinator, Ms Sheeba Shaju, and nurse Aswathy Devadas were among the teaching faculty. They report that they themselves feel thrilled and enthused by the event.

Kudos, palliative care nurses of Kerala!

Public Interest Litigation in Supreme Court of India concludes.

2016 April 29

Supreme CourtFinal orders were passed on 01 April 2016 on our litigation in the Supreme Court of India pending since 2007.

In its orders, the Supreme Court expressed satisfaction that “the present petition does appear to have served its purpose and led to an improvement in the system that was earlier prevailing” particularly in view of the amendment of the NDPS Act. The court continues to observe that “There may still be certain areas of concern which according to the petitioners need to be addressed by the competent authority but the petitioner shall be free to seek such other redress as may be warranted under the law before the authorities”.

True, it indeed served the purpose to a large extent. The questions raised by the Court at every hearing had spurred Government action. The case was filed in 2007 jointly by Indian Association of Palliative Care (represented by M.R.Rajagopal), Ms Poonam Bagai (cancer survivor, chairman of CanKids and vice-chair of Pallium India) and Dr Ravi Ghooi, the pharmacologist who had gone to High Court of Delhi in the mid-1990s seeking access to morphine for his mother with cancer. There are a few people who deserve the gratitude of every palliative care person in the country and everyone who is going to be benefited by the case – Mr Ashok Chitale, senior lawyer and trustee of Pallium India, his colleague and senior lawyer Mr Niraj Sharma and Ms Tripti Tandon of Lawyers’ Collective who all did all the work on the PIL pro bono. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Mr Chitale, Mr Sharma and Ms Tandon.

Healthy India Alliance gets its act together.

2016 April 29

NCD AllianceThe recently-launched Healthy India Alliance (HIA) is the Indian arm of the global NCD Alliance which has been very successful in advocacy for Prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) internationally.

HIA had a 3-day National Consultation in New Delhi on 25-27 April 2016. Seen here at the inaugural function are Ms Radhika Srivastava of Hriday-Shan, Dr Srinath Reddy of PHFI, Dr Henk Bekedam, WHO representative for India, Mr Rajeev Kumar, Director (NCD) of Ministry of Health, Government of India and Dr Rajesh Bhalla, medical adviser to Indian Cancer Society.

The national consultation was supported by WHO (India), American Cancer Society and the NCD Alliance. Pallium India was represented by Dr Kumar Abhishek and Dr M.R.Rajagopal who took the lead in one of the 4 thematic workshops on “Patient & Family Engagement and Palliative Care”.

Cancer Helpline, Help desk

2016 April 28

Times of India reports on 26 April that a new help desk has been launched at MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Centre:

A cancer help desk and a cancer helpline from the field of oncology and palliative care offers voluntary services to cancer patients, who need an honest second opinion on cancer treatment. It has been launched at MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer centre. MNJ hospital’s helpdesk will address the medical needs of patients hospital as per agreed terms, such as providing prosthetics, chemo port, chemo drugs etc, which are not covered under Aryogyasri and the hospital.