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.

Kuttikkoottam (Kids’ Kollective) – Summer Camp for Children

2014 April 15

Pallium India looks after the education of about 380 children who might have been forced to drop out of school/college owing to financial difficulties arising from life-threatening diseases in the family. Every year, we hold a summer camp for these children, mostly organized by our volunteers.

This year, the camp will be held at JMM Study Centre, Nalanchira, Trivandrum, from 1 to 3 May 2014. The event offers a nice blend of learning and fun to the mostly grey lives that these children find themselves in. If you live anywhere near Trivandrum, please email us and drop in one of those days to meet the children.

Our volunteers who organize the event have taken a collection among themselves and raised about Rs. 60,000 (US $ 1000) and find themselves short of about Rs. 75,000 (US S$ 1200 approximately. If anyone would like to help the cause, please go to http://palliumindia.org/donate/

If you are making an online donation, the funds will come through Pallium India – USA through Indians for Collective Action.

From the summer camp last year

From the summer camp last year

For a tranquil farewell” – an article by Bindu Nair

2014 April 14

bin_1“When I told my father about his illness, he asked me to just ignore it. He naturally wished to be at home with his family till the end.” Bindu Nair writes in The Hindu Open Page about how her knowledge of palliative care and the suggestion by a considerate doctor helped her make a choice between a painful surgery for her father and allowing him to live the remainder of his life in peace and to die in dignity.

“With the help of some medication he lived with us happily for about two more months. He enjoyed the care given to him and we had the satisfaction of serving him when it was needed.”

You can read the complete article by Bindu Nair.

The Desert rose – An Exhibition by our Patients and Families, in Trivandrum

2014 April 13

Despite odds of nature, the desert rose blooms so beautiful! Come and see another kind of desert rose – an exhibition of creations by patients and their children. There will be paintings as well as other artistic products – most of them by young people who were bed-bound once, who are up on a wheel-chair now and creating these marvels.

The relevance: apart from treating pain and other symptoms and offering physical rehabilitation and psychological support to patients and families, Pallium India also embarks on vocational rehabilitation. Imagine the difference to self-respect it can make, when someone who considered oneself a burden for the family, now creates works of art and earns for the family!

desert roseWe have more than 300 students now receiving educational support from us. In addition, wherever possible we empower patients and family members to earn for the family. We also teach the patients some vocation, so that they can earn for themselves. Many also rediscover their artistic talents.

Please visit the Desert Rose from the 26th to 30th of April, organized in co-operation with Alliance Fran├žaise.

Date: 26 April to 30 April, 2014
Time: 9 AM to 4 PM
Venue: Alliance Fran├žaise, Forest Office Lane, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum

Do please visit and encourage the artists and creators.

Inappropriate referrals at the end of life

2014 April 10

A patient enduring terrible pain travels by train from Guwahati to New Delhi, 1800 kms away, only to be told that there was no treatment for him. “Why did they send me here when they knew there is nothing more to be done?” he asks. Dr Savita Butola adds, “Doctors, more than anyone else, should realize how precious each minute is for someone who is dying!”

Dr Savita ButolaIn her article “Inappropriate referrals at the end of life – the existing Indian scenario” published in the Official Journal of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer, Dr Savita Butola writes about cancer patients who have been unnecessarily referred to higher hospitals instead of someone explaining to them how supportive care can be provided at home. These patients spend the last days of their life wandering from hospital to hospital, getting little attention, wasting a lot of money and time, whereas they should have been with their loved ones in familiar surroundings.

“It is indeed a pity to see how lack of communication skills awareness and clear legal guidelines all result in so many inappropriate and avoidable last-minute referrals just because as doctors we refuse to accept death – the only thing in life that is sure.” she says. “Terminal patients are routinely referred to higher centres even though very often it means that they are declared dead on arrival”. In her opinion, doctors in India are trained to think of death as the enemy to be battled till the end and not as the inevitable consequence of life.

“Poor communication prevents patients and their families from coming to terms with reality, resulting in unrealistic hopes, affecting their ability to make rational choices and prepare for death. Of the estimated seven million deaths each year, almost four million need palliative care, but the majority do not have access to it”.

Dr Savita stresses the importance of palliative care education that would limit inappropriate treatment and the need for communication with the patient and families so as to prepare them for the inevitable.

You think this happens only in Russia?

2014 April 9

Problems obtaining pain medicines appear to have played an important role in several of the suicides in Moscow. Vyacheslav Apanasenko, the retired admiral who shot himself on 10 February, left a suicide note saying: “I ask not to blame anyone except for the Health Ministry and the government.” His family had been unable to get the final signature on a prescription for a strong pain killer on the day of the suicide……

Shockingly, Moscow’s deputy mayor, Leonid Pechatnikov, nonchalantly dismissed these human tragedies as the result of an “aggravation of psychiatric disorders” caused by the spring.

Read the powerful article in the International Business Times by Mr Diederik Lohman of Human Rights Watch.