What difference did the Project Hamrahi make in Silchar?

2014 March 31
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Project Hamrahi (Hamrahi in Hindi means ‘fellow traveller’) is a collaborative project between APLI (Australasian Palliative Link International) and Pallium India. In this, a doctor-nurse team from Australia / New Zealand builds a partnership with one palliative care link centre in India that Pallium India catalysed or works with. The visitors get the satisfaction of having made an enormous difference to a growing palliative care centre and maybe also learn a little bit about local customs and practices. The Indian centre, which often works with limited staff and limited capacity, gains by an annual visit of a week and support from the same team. So far, the program has been hugely successful.

photo (1)One such team, Dr David Brumley, Ms Sarah Corfe and Dr Oliver Haisken worked with the palliative care team in Cachar Cancer Centre in Silchar, Assam. The palliative care team is led by the physician, Dr Iqbal Bahar, and by the palliative care nursing supervisor, Ms Sarita.

We asked Dr Ravi Kannan, the Director of the institute, what difference the Project Hamrahi made. Here is his reply:

They came and spent time with our nurses and doctors. For our nurses, I think the biggest advantage that Project Hamrahi offered was that it improved their self-esteem. That somebody from abroad is willing to come and consider spending time with them, talk to them, explain things to them, work with them, improved their self-esteem and confidence tremendously. The APLI team also pointed out how things could be changed, how the records can be maintained; they actually did an audit at the end of each visit. In the audit, we listed out things that we should achieve before the next visit. That really ensured that things get moving. They also brought material they could distribute, small things that could make incremental and significant progress. On their first visit, they gave us funds to train two nurses and we sent them to Trivandrum for training. This visit, they have offered to fund the training of two more nurses and we’re hoping to send them to Hyderabad.

By the way, the institution is also being developed as a “Pain-free” hospital under a Pallium India Collaborative Project directed by Ms Meg O’Brien – “Treat the Pain” funded by American Cancer Society. It has been hugely successful; I did a round of wards and almost none had more than score 2 pain. The one patient who did have severe pain was being attended to by the pain specialist as a pain emergency. Kudos to Dr Ravikannan, Dr Iqbal Bahar and Ms Sarita.

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