May 2014 Newsletter

2014 May 31
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You may not have sensed it; but your life has been changed on 23 May 2014

Dr Nandini at WHAThe World Health Assembly at Geneva adopted a resolution on 23 May 2014 – a resolution that has the potential to change the lives of every single human being around the world. It affects all of us and our loved ones because most of us at some time of our lives will have a health situation that will necessitate palliative care without which it can be a time of intense suffering that most people find themselves ill-prepared to cope with.

This landmark resolution urges all countries to develop, fund and implement appropriate palliative care policies, to include palliative care as an integral component of education, to assess palliative care needs including the need for essential medicines and to overcome legislative barriers to access to opioids. It also requests the Director-General of WHO to ensure that palliative care is an integral component of all relevant global disease control and health systems plans.

This is the result of many years of advocacy and sustained efforts of many palliative care organizations around the world. We are glad that Pallium India has contributed to this effort in its humble way, the latest being the work with the Government of India to ensure its support and generally contributing to International advocacy.

Historic side event at World Health Assembly

Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS, India

Dr Jagdish Prasad, DGHS, India

At a side event of the World Health Assembly on 21 May 2014, Pallium India’s consultant Dr Nandini Vallath was one of the participants at a panel discussion, promoting the historic resolution by the World Health Assembly that was adopted on 23 May 2014.

Dr Nandini writes from Geneva:

The Director General of Health Services of India, Dr Jagdish Prasad was very supportive and participated in the discussion today during the presentation by India on “Recent efforts in Palliative care” at the World health assembly side-event. He made important comments which stated the definite commitment by the government on implementing the PC program effectively, across the country. The audience, which comprised of government and NGO representatives from more than 30 countries, was also pleasantly surprised at the initiatives that India has already taken.

Dr. Nandini presented statistics on the current deficit of palliative care in India and the regulations over the years that led to barriers in access of medicines for palliative care and pain relief. She spoke about the NDPS Amendment of 2014 which would remove some of the barriers in opioid access. The goal of the new National Strategy on Palliative Care is to improve both availability and accessibility of palliative care. Another crucial activity that is underway is the integration of palliative care principles into undergraduate medical and nursing curricula.

Read more about this event “India National Strategy on Palliative Care Aired at World Health Assembly in Geneva” in this article by Katherine Pettus, IAHPC Advocacy Officer.

Good News about Methadone

We hear from Rusan Pharma Ltd. that they have made Methadone available for sale in India. Naturally, any of us will need to go through the licensing process as stipulated by the NDPS Act, till the new Amendment is implemented.

The big advantage is that, for the first time, India would have a low cost alternative to morphine, so that patients who do not tolerate morphine because of neurotoxicity now have an alternative. On the downside, methadone does not have the safety profile that morphine can boast of. Hence, greater caution is required in its use. The palliative care fraternity of the country have the responsibility to educate its fellow members in the proper use of methadone.

Read the complete article

Roseann’s last days: a touching video

image05“To see my mother go like this… this is the way I would like to go,” says a daughter as she lies down beside her dying mother, with her arm around her.

See the touching video, showing Roseann’s last few days. This amazing Australian woman wanted her last few days filmed so that others understand the value of coming to terms with the inevitable and the value of palliative care – what difference it makes to a person with incurable disease, and her family.

International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care, 2015

image02The 22nd International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care, IAPCON 2015 will be held at the Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hitex, from 13- 15th February 2015.

The theme of the conference is “Influence, Innovate, Integrate – Pushing the boundaries.”

Click here to register for the conference. Abstract submissions are now open. Please visit this link for the abstract submission guidelines.

More details can be found at IAPCON Hyderabad.

Email: info@iapcon2015hyd.com Phone: 09848021801, 09985480614, 9866916065, 9177238901

Pallium Kulasekharam celebrates its first anniversary.

image04On 24 May 2014, Pallium Kulasekharam, Pallium India’s associate palliative care service started in our adjoining state of Tamilnadu, celebrated its first anniversary.

Founded by Dr P.K.Sukumaran Nair, a UK-based pediatrician, this palliative care service is his gift to his birthplace.  He has got together an army of several local organizations and individuals to serve the needy.  The District Collector, Shri S.Nagarajan IAS, Dr N.Ravindran, the joint director of Health Services and Dr Madhusoothanan, deputy director of Health Services were the honored guests.  A dynamic pragmatist, Mr Nagarajan has already done a lot for palliative care. Congratulations, people of Kulasekharam.

Thank you for giving Pallium India the honor of working with you.

Upcoming courses on palliative care in Trivandrum, Hyderabad and Jaipur

Trivandrum, Kerala

The next six weeks course for doctors and nurses will start on August 4, 2014. For more details on this course, please visit: http://palliumindia.org/courses/ccppm/

Contact: info@palliumindia.org, (+91)9746746530

Hyderabad, AP

At our associate centre in MNJ Institute of Oncology in Hyderabad, the next four weeks course will begin on 7 July, 2014 and end on 2 Aug 2014. For more details on this course, visit: http://palliumindia.org/courses/hyd_ccppm/

Contact: Ms. Vineela Rapelli – Program Coordinator, mnj.palliativecare@gmail.com, (+91)91772 38901

Jaipur, Rajasthan

And at BMCHRC, Jaipur, Rajasthan, the next six weeks course will begin on June 2, 2014 and end on July 12, 2014. For more details on this course, please visit: http://palliumindia.org/courses/jaipur_ccppm/

Contact: palliumjaipur@gmail.com, anjumjoad@gmail.com

Details on all these courses are available at http://palliumindia.org/courses/

For more information about any of our courses, please write to us: info@palliumindia.org or call us: (+91)471-2440306

IAHPC Traveling Scholarship Program

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) has announced 10 scholarships from the IAHPC Traveling Scholarship Program, to help support the travel of palliative care workers in developing countries to the 20th International Congress on Palliative Care presented by McGill University.

The Congress will take place in Montreal, Canada, September 9-12, 2014. Additional information about the Congress can be found in the event website.

Applicants must be living in a developing country, be active members of IAHPC, and actively working in palliative care. If you wish to apply and are not an IAHPC member, you may join by clicking here.

Deadline to apply is June 30, 2014. Results will be announced by July 20th.

For more details and to apply, click here.

To a great friend who passed beyond the veil

JaikrishnanMr T Jaikrishnan lived in Kochi. He was a great friend and human being, and a great supporter of palliative care. He died several months back and we did not even hear about it!

Well, recently, Ms Geetha who looked after his affairs found that his will mentioned some money earmarked for palliative care. She came down all the way from Kochi to Trivandrum to present a handsome cheque to us.

We are truly sorry that you are with us no more, Mr Jaikrishnan. May your soul rest in peace!

People who died in pain cannot demand justice!

bishnuIs it not time more questions were raised about the pain burden in the developing world when cheap and effective remedies are available?

An article by Dr Bishnu Dutta Paudel and colleagues in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management shows the remarkable changes that one committed individual can make, and also the impact of a planned organized international activity like the International Pain Policy Fellowship undertaken at the WHO Collaborating Centre at Pain and Policy Studies Group (PPSG) in Madison-Wisconsin. As the authors point out, Low and Middle Income countries “face a disproportionate lack of access to pain relieving medicines such as morphine, despite medical and scientific literature that shows morphine to be effective to treat moderate and severe cancer pain.”

Dr Paudel and colleagues have had great success; but it is not the end of the story. As the authors point out, “long-term implementation efforts, funding, and technical assistance by governments, philanthropic organizations, and international partners are necessary to ensure that pain relief and palliative care become accessible by all in need in Nepal and other LMICs.”

Jiv Daya Foundation needs India-based Project Officer: Mumbai

Jiv Daya Foundation is a private foundation based in Dallas, TX, founded by Dr Vinay Jain. Its broad mission is to improve quality of life for those most in need. Currently the Foundation operates several targeted initiatives in health care based in India. These include pediatric oncology, palliative care, amputee assistance, orphan diseases, and maternal and neonatal health. The Foundation provides training and salary support for social workers to raise financial aid, tools and staff to facilitate prospective data collection, and training and financial support for physicians working in the above fields in India.

The Mumbai based Project Officer should be someone with a medical background who will be responsible to assisting with on-the ground coordination and oversight of projects within JDF focus areas.  These responsibilities would include site visits to various JDF supported hospitals, regular phone and email communication with senior physicians as well as staff supported by JDF grant funds, as well as administrative duties.  The position would focus primary with the pediatric cancer and palliative care projects.

For more details, visit: http://palliumindia.org/2014/05/jiv-daya-foundation-needs-india-based-project-officer-mumbai/ 

Volunteers’ Training Program in Trivandrum

Pallium India’s 2-day Volunteers’ Training Program is scheduled for 19 and 21 June, 2014. Write to info@palliumindia.org or call +91-471-2440306 to register.

If you are unable to attend the Volunteers’ Training Program in June, you could register for one of the subsequent sessions on July 17 &19 or August 21 & 23.

For more information on the different courses we offer, please visit:http://palliumindia.org/courses/

PARTING SHOT

Volunteers, the strength of palliative care movement in India

photo (3)A visiting doctor said, “We cannot get volunteers in our country”.

May be that is true, but we find it hard to believe. How could any country not have people who have goodness and compassion welling up within them, who are deprived of a way of giving it expression?

At Pallium India, we have volunteers doing all kinds of work – from hands-on nursing to governance and management. See this picture showing 8 year old Munnu and a young dental surgeon, Dr Manu, helping out with mailing of about 4500 copies of “Sahayatra”, our monthly Malayalam magazine – a job that takes at least 350 man-hours a month and that is all done by volunteers (including the editor’s job that is done by Dr Ajayan).

IMG_3289On 11 and 12 May, 2014, at Manacaud High School Auditorium, 900-odd people thronged the hall for the State Volunteers Meet in palliative care, organized by the Kerala state branch of IAPC and hosted by Trivandrum Initiative in Palliative Care. Well, even after all the chairs were taken, not everybody could find a seat. They just stood or sat outside the hall, wherever they could find space and listened intently to the deliberations. The sincerity and commitment on most of those faces could be a great lesson in compassion and commitment for the world.

One obvious sentiment expressed by them was the thirst for knowledge. Here were people willing to help; but mostly with no formal education in medicine, nursing or allied fields. They felt the need to learn just so that they can help others.

Truly, it’s a privilege to be one among them. Kudos, palliative care volunteers in Kerala!

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