Published on: January 12, 2011

Till now, Palliative Medicine was not approved as a medical specialty by the Medical Council of India (the statutory body with the authority to do so). Palliative care workers have been trying hard to get this done.

In 2009, the then acting president of the Medical Council of India, Dr Kesavan Kutty Nair, had responded very positively to our request and arranged for us to meet the then-chairman of the postgraduate board of Medical Council of India, who had agreed to do the needful.

In the Public Interest Litigation filed by the Indian Association of Palliative Care before the Supreme Court of India, this was a major prayer. At a hearing of the case on 12 November 2010, the Medical Council of India was represented by counsel and was asked by the Court to file an affidavit. Thanks to the initiative of Dr Nandini, a few of us had met one member of the MCI board, Dr Devi Shetty, who had wholeheartedly agreed with the cause and had promised to do what he can. We are sure many others in the country must also have been making similar efforts.

Professor Reena George of Christian Medical College, Vellore has just found out that the MCI has approved Palliative Medicine as a specialty and even announced an MD course (the standard post-graduate medical degree in India) in Palliative Medicine.

A giant step forward indeed! All palliative care workers in India, I am sure, would be very thankful to the numerous individuals and organizations all over the world who supported us and helped us to reach this major achievement.