March 2018 Newsletter

2018 February 28

IAPCON 2018, New Delhi

Pallium India’s Chairman, Dr M. R. Rajagopal, writes:

The growth of palliative care in India was clearly made visible at the International conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPCON2018) from 23 to 25 February 2018 at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, preceded by two days of pre-conference workshops. Truly, a great academy feast, conducted with commitment and good time management. Congratulations to the organising team led by Professor Sushma Bhatnagar. She seemed to be everywhere all at the same time!

(Photo: Pallium India team at IAPCON2018)

Bruce Davis gold medal presented

Wilfrid Bruce Davis is a name that we remember with great joy. His services to palliative care in our country have been silent and phenomenal, including funding the complete construction of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at Calicut and continued support for decades to many palliative care services including Gauhati.

Year after year, young doctors have competed for the coveted Bruce Davis gold medal.

This year, the gold medal winner is Dr. Puneeth Rathore, resident doctor at AIIMS, New Delhi. He received the award from Shri Ashwini Choubey, minister of state for Health and Family Welfare on 23 Feb 2017 at Delhi.

Hearty congratulations, Dr Puneeth Rathore.

Opioid availability workshop in Delhi

Despite the amendment of the NDPS Act of India in 2014, progress has been slow in terms of improvement in access to opioids for those who need it.

Thank you, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) for coming to help and organising a two-day workshop on opioid access at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi on 21 and 22 February, 2018. It was a great idea to bring together Government officials and palliative care activists from several states.

And thank you, WHO (India) for supporting it.

‘Hippocratic’ wins the 2017 Accolade Global Film Competition Humanitarian Award – Award of Distinction

Congratulations to the wonderful people at Moonshine Agency for creating this beautiful, important and powerful masterpiece! This well-made movie about palliative care in India, through the eyes of Dr M. R. Rajagopal, has already won several accolades internationally.

Here’s to many more awards and recognition for your amazing work and dedication to affecting global social change!

Hippocratic speaking tour set to begin in Canada and USA

Hippocratic: 18 Experiments in gently shaking the world is coming to USA and Canada.

Click here to attend a screening near you.

  • KINGSTON: Wednesday, March 7, 2018 at 5pm
    Queen’s University, The John T M Fraser Lecture Theatre, ssom 032A,
    School of Medicine Building, 15 Arch Street, Kingston
  • OTTAWA: Friday, March 9, 2018 at 5:00pm
    Bruyere Auditorium, 43 Bruyere St. Ottawa, ON K1N 5C8
  • NEW YORK CITY: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 6:30pm
    Regal Union Square Stadium 14
    4818, 850 Broadway, New York, NY
  • BOSTON: Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at 5pm
    Hosts: MassPI & Tufts Pain Research, Education & policy (PREP)
    Tufts School of Medicine, 145 Harrison Avenue, Boston
    De Blois Auditorium (Sackler Building, Room 108)
  • SAN FRANCISCO: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 2:30pm
    Special Guests: Dr MR Rajagopal & Dr BJ Miller
    Hosts: Relief from Cancer, UCSF, Heal Initiative
    UCSF Cole Hall, 505 Parnassus Ave, San Francisco

Hippocratic will also be screened at Minneapolis, Kansas City, San Diego, Washington DC, Seattle, Vancouver, Atlanta, and several other cities. Visit this page for more details:

Spreading the word of palliative care through Wall Art

Students of Mar Baselios College of Engineering, Trivandrum, in association with Pallium India, organized a Wall Art program in Trivandrum on Saturday, February 17. With the help of artists, they painted beautiful images on the wall of Sri Moolam Club, Vazhuthacaud, illustrating the importance of palliative care. The paintings grabbed the attention of passers-by, and many stopped to watch the artists at work.

The program was inaugurated at 9 a.m. by the Mayor of Thiruvananthapuram, Adv. V.K. Prasanth.

More than 170m of city walls now carry their wall art, spreading their messages of compassion to those who pass by in the central spot at Vazhuthacaud.

For more pictures, please visit our Facebook page.

Annual conference of IAPC (Kerala) volunteers at Muhamma, Kerala

The two day annual event on 3, 4 February 2018 was a grand success. You can see how full the hall was. The whole town emerged in the afternoon to take out a procession leading to the venue.

There were a lot of novelties. A basket of freshly cut organic vegetables replaced the traditional bouquet of flowers.

Two ministers – Dr Thomas Isac and Shri Thilothaman – stayed for several hours. The power of the community was made visible. Congratulations to the organisers at Muhamma and to Narayanan Puthukkudy, the general secretary of IAPC, Kerala.

Ken Ross visits Pallium India

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s son, Ken Ross, visited Pallium India on Feb 20, and spent some time with the team. He also donated books to Pallium India’s EKR library, much to the delight of Sheeba, who is in charge of the library.

DeCARE Logo unveiled

The logo of DeCARE was unveiled at College of Engineering, Trivandrum on 14th February, 2018.

DeCARE is a technical initiative launched by National Service Scheme of College of Engineering, Trivandrum (CET) in association with Engineers’ Crew for Society and Environment (ENCRESE) and Pallium India.

DeCARE aims to identify several requirements of differently-abled people and try to fulfil those needs with the help of technology.

Pazhampori, anyone? Or pickles?

Pallium India’s staff and volunteers organized a food festival in Ernst & Young, Kinfra Park, Trivandrum on Feb 9, 2018, to raise funds for Kuttikoottam summer camp (summer camp for children of our patients).

Pallium India provides financial support towards the education of our patients’ children. Read more about Kuttikkoottam, our program that currently supports over 300 children, and how you can help:

What is the ideal therapeutic distance?

How close can a health professional get to a patient?

Opinions may vary regarding the ideal therapeutic distance; but we have only respect for Dany Shaji, a medical social worker in New Zealand, who got married to Tania Kurian on 3 February 2018 at Changanacherry. He made sure that some of his former “clients” who needed a wheelchair for their mobility attended the wedding. Suresh and Ratheesh have paraplegia and became friends with Dany when he used to work in Pallium India. They traveled some 130 km to be best men at the wedding.

You should have seen how bright their eyes were!

Video of the Month

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross “On Hospice”

AIIMS rolls out measures for ‘complete care’

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has integrated palliative care with not just the oncology department but also with the pulmonary, psychiatry and emergency ward to give its patients a “complete care”.

The role of palliative care when caring for children with cancer

For the first 22 months of his life Ayanda Khumalo was a normal child, living with his mother and grandmother near Durban, South Africa. Ayanda’s mother noticed an unusual swelling in his abdomen. She took Ayanda to the local district hospital where he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.

The next 12 months were a tumultuous time for Ayanda and his family consisting of countless hospital visits, chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions.

Doctor shares dying children’s wishes: ‘Be kind and eat ice cream’

When a palliative paediatrician in South Africa saw too many negative stories appear on his Twitter feed, he decided to share some positive, inspiring thoughts of the terminally ill children in his care.

Alastair McAlpine, from Cape Town, tweeted: “I asked some of my terminal paediatric palliative care patients what they had enjoyed in life, and what gave it meaning. Kids can be so wise, y’know. Here are some of the responses.”

Trauma, dying and somatic experiencing

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is more common in the dying, their families and the bereaved than you might think. Dr Louis Heyse-Moore, a retired consultant in palliative medicine, counsellor and writer, explains how recent advances in the treatment of PTSD may be relevant to improving support for the dying.

On Calgary streets: Dignity, at the end of life

For a person on the street struggling every day to find food and shelter, a terminal diagnosis is a crushing burden. A nurse and doctor have founded a program which provides support to Calgary’s vulnerable citizens, where they need it most.

Doctors, Revolt!

Despite his reputation, Dr. Bernard Lown, emeritus professor of cardiology at Harvard, a senior physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and the founder of the Lown Cardiovascular Group, was treated like just another widget on the hospital’s conveyor belt.

What he needed was “the feeling of being a major partner in this decision,” he said. “Even though I am a doctor, I am still a human with anxieties.”

Did You Have To Say “Yet”?

A middle-aged man* came to our ambulatory palliative care clinic with his family.

Before the visit concluded, the physician completed a brief physical assessment. As he worked his way through the neurological exam, he noted positively to the patient, “no loss of strength yet”.

Neuro palliative care: ‘Being able to die with dignity is every individual’s right’

At the WCNR conference, a session dedicatedly spoke about multitude of issues from neuro palliative care to migraine and Parkinson’s disease among others

The Journey Continues

For many years, former College of Nursing Professor Joann (Jo) Eland would lead a group of several nursing and other health science students on an annual journey to Trivandrum, India, where she taught a three-week course titled “Hospice, Pain and Palliative Care.” The course was co-taught and coordinated with Pallium India, a nongovernmental, nonprofit hospice organization that provides free medical care for many of India’s poorest citizens.

Picking up where Dr. Eland left off, the India Winterim course (now titled “Pain, Palliative Care, and Hospice – Learning from Each Other”) is now under the purview of Assistant Professor Stephanie Gilbertson-White PhD, ARNP.

Bereavement Support India

Losing a loved one is the most difficult experience a human being can go through. Sometimes it can be difficult to just go through the day. With changing times, the traditional family and community support systems have decreased and it can be extremely lonely.

You don’t have to bear it on your own. We believe following information will help you understand your own or other’s grief better.

Improve access to internationally controlled essential medicines

By Katherine Pettus, PhD

World Cancer Day asks us to reflect on how we can play our part, as a collective or as individuals, in reducing the global burden of cancer. The “global burden of cancer” is actually an aggregate of the very real burden that falls on individual people: on cancer patients, their family members and their caregivers. In the vast majority of cases, people face severe untreated pain, financial worries, often bankruptcy, and psycho-spiritual distress. My part in reducing that burden is to advocate for the mainstreaming of palliative care — which alleviates the “total pain” brought on by cancer and other life limiting illnesses — throughout public health systems. I do this because it is a matter of social justice, and because I witnessed my mother’s severe unrelieved cancer pain and could do nothing to help her at that time.

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Upcoming Events

  • Mar 5, 2018: 6 weeks certificate course in palliative medicine and nursing (CCPPM, CCPN) at Trivandrum. Register: Contact: / 8589998760
  • Mar 7, 2018: Screening of Hippocratic in Kingston
  • Mar 9, 2018: Screening of Hippocratic in Ottawa
  • Mar 13, 2018: Screening of Hippocratic in New York City
  • Mar 14, 2018: Screening of Hippocratic in Boston
  • Mar 28, 2018: Screening of Hippocratic in San Francisco
  • Apr 23, 2018: 10-day Foundation course for doctors at Trivandrum. Contact: / 8589998760. Last date to apply: April 10
  • May 14, 2018: 10-day Foundation course for doctors at Trivandrum. Contact: / 8589998760. Last date to apply: May 1
  • May 30, 2018: 3rd ICPCN Conference, Durban, South Africa. Visit:
  • Jun 4, 2018: 6 weeks certificate course in palliative medicine and nursing (CCPPM, CCPN) at Trivandrum. Register: Contact: / 8589998760

Have Queries? Contact:

Find out more about our courses at:

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image06Palliative Care Information Centre

Contact Pallium India’s Information Centre (9 am to 12 noon) for information related to palliative care and about establishments where such facilities are available in India.

Telephone: +91-9746745497 or E-mail:
Address: Pallium India, Arumana Hospital, Perunthanni, Trivandrum

For more details, please visit:


Mission Chai: Chai with Compassion!

Would it not be good to start the morning with a cup of nice hot tea?

Perhaps it would be even more appreciated when one is battling a disease in the unfamiliar environment of a hospital. It is not just the tea; perhaps it is also the warm feeling that someone cares.

Mrs & Mr. Rakesh Nayyar and their friends have been serving chai and biscuits for 600 to 700 patients and their family members at Kidwai Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, since 15 August 2015. They call their program “Mission Chai”. Chai with compassion!

In the picture you see them with Professor Dr Linge Gowda (right), the director of Kidwai Institute of Oncology, a Regional Cancer Centre. He is also a Palliative care physician, we are proud to say.

Our respects to you, Mrs & Mr Nayyar and friends.

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