Published on: March 19, 2012

We are honored and proud to announce that the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), the flagship program of Pallium India, has been named a World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC).

The Official Title: “WHO Collaborating Centre for Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief”

This is a huge leap forward in the recognition of our model of palliative care for India and the rest of the world. The news was announced today in the March 2012 WHO Access and Control Newsletter.

Here is the news release:

TRIVANDRUM, Kerala, India – March 19, 2012 – Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), the flagship program of Pallium India, a registered charitable trust headquartered in Trivandrum, Kerala, India has been declared a World Health Organization Collaborating Center (WHOCC). Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of World Health Organization, informed the organization in a message delivered on February 28, 2012 that the designation for a period of four years is for collaboration in the areas of “Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief”.

“We are honored and pleased to receive this designation, which allows us to link up our work in the relief of pain and suffering in India to the national and international bodies that seek the same outcome,” said Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, chairman and founder of Pallium India and TIPS. “For too long, patients who needed pain relief and other palliative care services have been denied them due to outmoded bureaucratic red tape and other barriers. With the World Health Organization’s help, we envision a future in which all who need palliative care will receive it.”

Today in India, more than 99% of the needy — people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases causing prolonged pain — have no access to pain relief. Twenty-five years after the World Health Organization (WHO) came out with a viable protocol for pain relief, oral morphine is still not available in the majority of hospitals in India. This is an essential medicine according to the WHO. Modern principles of pain management are not taught to medical students in all but a handful of the medical colleges in the country. Through this recent announcement, the WHO is showing its commitment to turning this situation around for India and the rest of the developing world.

In his message to Pallium India, Mr Willem Scholten who leads the “Access to Controlled Medicines” program in World Health Organizations headquarters at Geneva said, “Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Medicine is an example for other pain centres and policy makers around the world. Unfortunately, very restricted access to pain medicines is rather the rule than the exception, like it used to be all over India in the past, but Kerala shows that it is possible to improve.

Pioneering work by the Indian palliative care community in association with the WHO Collaborating Center at Madison-Wisconsin has resulted in simplification of narcotic regulations in 14 Indian states. Kerala, where TIPS is headquartered, has particularly been far ahead of the rest of the country in this aspect. There, about 100 institutions stock and dispense oral morphine to the needy for use in the home setting. At least three medical colleges in the state impart education in pain management and palliative care. Kerala remains the only state in India to declare a palliative care policy. The result is at least 50% of the needy have access to palliative care.

Working towards improving access to pain relief in the rest of the country, Pallium India has successfully initiated development of palliative care centers in eight North and North-Eastern states over the last five years. Five of them are in Regional Cancer Centers. It continues to fund and train centers across India.

TIPS has its office in Pattom, Trivandrum, Kerala and its patient services based at the S.U.T Royal Hospital at Kochulloor, Trivandrum. It provides outpatient and home visit facilities from these bases of operation. The Institute works with volunteer-led community based organizations to provide weekly home visits to bed-bound patients. TIPS is also a training centre, conducting six weeks certificate courses for doctors, nurses and other professionals six times a year, as well as a ten-day foundation course for doctors. In addition, it conducts periodic volunteer training programs, as volunteers form an important part of the care team. The organization is also supported by volunteers around the world, and has a USA volunteer arm, Pallium India-USA, led by Dr. Jerina Kapoor.

“The newly designated WHO collaborating center at TIPS will work with organs of WHO, with Central and State Governments, with the Indian Association of Palliative Care and with other national and international agencies to improve access to pain relief for those in need in the country,” said Dr. Rajagopal. “Through these efforts, we will continue our goal of ensuring that all Indians are treated with respect, and that those with serious illness can live out their lives with the appropriate dignity they deserve.”

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2 responses to “Pallium India Flagship Program Named WHO Collaborating Center”

  1. Hamilton says:

    Hearty congratulations! Indeed a very well deserved honour for the thoughtfulness, commitment, hard work and foresightedness Pallium India has shown over the years! I am sure the fruits of this will reflect in handling some of the challenges in meeting the needs of and for palliative care in India.

  2. Rukmani says:

    Hearty Congratulations! God Bless you with good health to keep on doing the excellent work you are doing for Palliative care.India is fortunate to have” You”