“I feel God’s presence here”, said Ms Vimala Menon, social activist and secretary of Cheshire Home, Trivandrum. She was the chief guest at the first anniversary of the Pediatric Palliative Care Clinic at the S.A.T Hospital in Government Medical College. More than 60 children and their families celebrated the day along with Pallium India and with the Department of Pediatric Neurology and Department of Pediatrics on December 8, 2012.
Aneeja Mariam Joseph, Pallium India’s senior medical social worker reports:
I remember my first day at the clinic and our first patient Raghavi.
Raghavi, a huddled form constantly crying out in pain was brought in by her sister, a girl not more than 13 yrs of age. Raghavi’s endless cries and her sister’s attempts to pacify her are still fresh in my mind and it was heart breaking. I felt Pediatric Palliative care was not my cup of tea and was determined not to set my foot there ever again. But my team mates convinced me otherwise. Looking back now I am glad that I decided to listen to my team mates. I was rewarded with the sight of a more peaceful Raghavi at next visit. Within this one year, our multidisciplinary team has been successful in providing palliative care to 121 children.
What fun the children and we had at the first anniversary! Inspired by Dr. Ajayan’s encouraging words, many parents came forward and shared their experience with life – suffering, hope, rejection, support. Many of our young patients and their siblings entertained – they sang, they danced. Dr. Sithara, our palliative care physician, presented the report on our activities and Dr. P. G Hariprasad, Associate Professor, welcomed the gathering. The clinic was officially named “Prateeksha” meaning hope. The invited guests were presented with beautiful paper-flower bouquets made by Manoj, wheelchair bound young man under palliative care at Pallium India. Gifts of toys, coloring books and crayons brought smiles to the young faces. And I think they enjoyed the lunch that was provided
All this became possible because of the generous contributions made by kindhearted individuals and organizations. On behalf of our patients, their families and SAT Hospital, Pallium India expresses its heartfelt gratitude especially to Shri. Raman Namboodiri, Ebenezer Marthoma Palliative Care Unit, Dhanalakshmi Bank (Vazhuthacaud) and State Bank of Tranvancore (Medical College Branch).
Reaching Out to the Community in Agartala
“I want to be a singer”, said 17 year old Moushumi, her face lighting up when asked about her ambition in life. She ran in, and came back with a portfolio containing all the certificates she had won.
We were visiting her grandma at her home in Agartala, the capital of the North-east indian state of Tripura. The elderly woman had advanced cancer. But her pain was being treated with morphine and she was comfortable. The care was being provided by the only palliative care unit in the state – a unit established under “Pallcare India” as a collaborative project between Pallium India and the Regional Cancer Centre at Agartala. The project is funded jointly by Savitri Waney Trust, Farida & Yusuf Hamied Trust and Bruce Davis Trust. A team led by Dr Badhan Janapathy, nurses Rita Saha & Lakshmi Sengupta and guided by Prof Gautam Majumdar provide outpatient, inpatient and home care.
Moushumi’s father wondered aloud about the fate of the family if the team had not reached them. They are not rich. They would have spent all their resources seeking some comfort for the patient. There would have been no money for Moushumi’s education. Now he knows that his mother can be comfortable for the rest of her days. And that Moushumi can pursue her dreams.
Moushumi has promised to let us know when she sings on television first.
Government Support in Agartala
Pallium India team had gone along with Dr Gautam Majumdar to meet the Hon. Health Minister of Tripura, Shri Tapan Chakraborty. We were ready to explain to him what palliative care was. We did not need to. Shri Chakraborty talked to us about the implications of cancer on the person and particularly on the family. He also had a clear vision about how palliative care work was to be taken forward, about training master trainers who would propagate the training of health care workers and so on. We found the same degree of awareness when we met the Chief Secretary Shri S.K.Panda IAS and the Health Minister Shri J.K.Sinha IAS.
Dr Gautam Majumdar, head of RCC, Agartala and his colleagues have certainly worked hard and spreading the word, but they are obviously privileged to have such knowledgeable and pro-active Government.
Partnering at Thakurpukur with DFID THET Program
Pallium India considers it a privilege to have had the chance to partner with the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID)’s Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET) and with the Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre (SGCC&RI) at Thakurpukur, Kolkata on a mission to improve access to palliative care in North East India. Pallium India was already in agreement with this cancer center to work together towards establishment of a palliative care training centre there.
Pallium India joined Dr Sankha Mitra who spear-heads the DFID-THET program in Kolkata and the local organization to conduct a four day educational program on palliative care. Several health care professionals from the UK – Phil Cotterell, Lyn Phippen, Liz Watso and others – had come to teach at the program which catered to about 150 health care professionals – doctors, nurses, social workers and others.
The partners are going to work together to conduct six weeks certificate courses in Palliative Care there. One of them, Dr Kiran Sharma, is going to stay on for a while to start the first such course and to teach at it. Visiting Pallium India faculty will join Dr Rakesh Roy and other members of the local team not only to make this course a success, but will also facilitate development of palliative care centres in the region.
Pallium India gratefully acknowledges the support from JivDaya Foundation for funding a project officer who has done excellent work in advocacy in the region.
Kathy’s visit to WHOCC
Ms Katherine Holloway from the World Health Organization’s South East Asian Regional Office visited Pallium India’s WHO Collaborating Center (WHOCC) at Trivandrum. Kathy joined our home visit team to see first-hand the nature of our work and spent a couple of days working with us on the terms of reference of our WHOCC and discussing the action plan.
Thank you Kathy, for visting. Hope you will come again
National Conference on Oncology Nursing in HCG, Bangalore
HCG-Oncology hosted a national conference on Oncology Nursing and one third of the time was devoted to palliative care. Kudos to Ms Saino Thomas and team for the success of the program and for giving palliative care its rightful part in Oncology Nursing. About 300 delegates took part in the deliberations in which pain assessment and management and end of life issues were discussed in detail. Dr Nandini and team certainly deserve credit for making palliative care an essential part of oncology practice at HCG Oncology.
Pallium India was privileged to be part of the conference. Thank you Saino and Nandini for the opportunity.
Christmas gift from PASS
Pallium India has got a dual gift from a social organization in Pallithura, a coastal area near Trivandrum. PASS (Pallithura Association) has embarked on a collaboration with Pallium India to provide palliative care to people in that locality. PASS has also donated a TATA Venture vehicle to Pallium India for its home visit programs. The program was formally inaugurated on 27 December at Pallithura by Shri Wahid, member of the Legislative Assembly.
Thank you, Mr Shoji, Mr Higinas, Rev. Fr Jerome and all at PASS for this Christmas gift..
One million lights
You must visit onemillionlights.org
“One Million Lights” improves the daily lives of children and adults by providing clean and healthy lighting. The organization’s goal is to distribute one million solar lights to replace dangerous and polluting kerosene lamps. These solar lights enable children to study at night and adults to extend their workday, all while eliminating carbon emissions, improving household health, and greatly increasing income savings for families in need.
One million lights donated 100 solar lights which we have distributed to the students who get educational support from Pallium India.
Thank you Laura, Jai and everyone at One Million Lights!
We hope you had a good Christmas – time with family and friends, a good feast, a lot of laughterand fun
May we suggest that the celebration would not really be complete till you have shared something for the people who have not been lucky to have such colorful Christmas?
Every little bit helps.
- $ 5 will pay for Medicines for a week
- $ 20 = Medicines for a month
- $ 80 = Schooling support for one child/year
- $ 500 = Vocational rehabilitation for a family