Published on: July 8, 2015

When we posted an update about our two-day undergraduate training on palliative care undertaken at Travancore Institute of Medical Sciences, Kollam, we received this response from Gowri: “As someone from a non-medical background, I am surprised to realize that palliative care isn’t automatically a core part of the medical curriculum in India. What is stopping you from incorporating palliative care courses or at least workshops like these in medical colleges?”

Let us repeat this question loud and clear. Let us shout it from the rooftops. How can “modern medicine” be proud of itself if a medical student does not learn how to treat pain? 

How can you and I accept the fact that a medical student and a nursing student do not learn how to treat pain? Does that not violate the basic fundamental right of you and I, and all our loved ones – the 1.2 billion people in India?

It is easy to give the reasons.

  • The Medical Council of India and Indian Nursing Council have not included it in their curricula, despite assurance to the Supreme Court that they will.
  • The task is too huge. There are too few palliative care personnel in the country to teach; and they are all busy treating patients.
  • Medical practice itself is disease-focussed and has next to nothing in it today about identifying elements of disease-related suffering and alleviating it.

The list could go on. But let us not stop short at giving excuses. Let us do something. Gowri and everyone who reads this, Can we try to do something? Will you help?

If we create an army of supporters, the funds for taking it forward can be found. If we together raise our collective voices, the people who should listen to it would listen.

We repeat the question, dear friends. Will you help? Write to us!

One response to ““Why isn’t palliative care a part of medical curriculum?””

  1. Amrutha J S says:

    I have just passed my final MBBS. I got a small opportunity to interact with palliative care doctors as well as other professionals in it during my community medicine posting. I truly got passionate about it. At the same time, I realised that most of my friends are least aware of the activities of this speciality. Palliative care, rather than being some unread pages of our textbook, should be included as a part of our clinical postings.

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