Thiruvalla | Published on: October 29, 2010
Project Hamrahi

Dr Andrew Chew, Dr P.T.Thampi and Dr Sok-Hui Goh

Project Hamrahi is a mentoring program for Indian palliative care programs jointly initiated by Australia Palliative Link International and Pallium India. Its pioneer, Dr Odette Spruyt was the first person to make a visit for this purpose to Patna in Bihar earlier this year. Odette has subsequently been following up with Patna.

The second visit under the project happened this month (October 2010) at Thiruvalla, a town in Kerala about 130 kilometres north of Trivandrum. In a prestigious medical school and hospital (Pushpagiri), Dr P.T.Thampi started a palliative care program five years back. He works with a dedicated team of volunteers and staff.

Dr Sok-Hui Goh from project Hamrahi spent a week with the team recently, walking with the team on home visits, seeing patients, discussing problems and solutions, and conducting educational programs. Her husband Dr Andrew Chew taught surgery residents. Sok-Hui and Andrew hope to continue their friendship with the Thiruvalla team.

Thank you Sok and Andrew.

2 responses to “Another step forward for Project Hamrahi”

  1. Dr Sok-Hui Goh says:

    The Pain and Palliative Care unit at Thiruvalla is a gem, providing excellent wholistic care within the complexity of the cultural, social and economic boundaries.

    The homevisits were a highlight and I saw how individuals cared for their loved ones with self abandonment, cheerfully despite no resources to speak of, and demonstrated the resilience and depth of human spirit. This was equally matched by the dedication and care provided by the Pain and Palliative Care team members. It is the outworking of Cecily Saunders description of what it means to ‘walk with the patient’ in their journey.

    My impression is that the good care provided by this unit has raised the profile of Pushpagiri Medical College hospital in the community. My presence as an international visitor at their public forum, celebrating World Palliative Care Day this year, has helped them boost their profile further – not that I understood the proceedings as it was held in Malayalam, the local dialect. The team, and especially Dr Thampi was encouraged by the visit and I had the privilege of being guest to many homes for breakfast and dinner.

    Given the excellent level of care given here, my initial feeling was that my visit was superfluous but at the end, the team felt very much encouraged and concurred with most of my observations. I will be communicating with the CEO of Pushpagiri, not only to endorse the unit but to give it a higher priority and profile.

    On a personal note, I developed some precious friendships and been enriched & deeply touched as a result.

  2. Odette Spruyt says:

    Dr Sok’s visit is the second of the Project Hamrahi visits of Australian palliative care providers to Indian palliative care programs. Dr Anil Tandon and Wendy Scott from Perth, Western Australia, will be visiting India later in November and will also report on their experiences.
    We plan to have several further visits in 2011 and are excited by the opportunities for shared learning and development of expertise that this exchange offers all the participants of this project.