Leaders from several religions, patients and families, palliative care experts and human rights activists came together at Vatican City on 10 November 2015 to create a charter for children’s palliative care. Three representatives from India were part of the 35-member workshop, including Dr Mary Ann Muckaden, Chairman of International Children’s Palliative Care Network, Dr Kshama Metre from Chinmaya Foundation, and Dr M. R. Rajagopal of Pallium India.
The charter highlighted pain relief and palliative care as an essential right of more than 21 million children in the world. The charter can be downloaded and read from the Maruzza Foundation website.
The Pontifical Academy for Life at Vatican and the Maruzza Foundation had collaborated to make this workshop possible. When the Pope granted an audience to the public on the following day, he blessed the children and families.
It is worthy of note that the Pope had called upon professionals and students to learn palliative care and to practise it, on 05 March 2015, in his address on Vatican radio. He also said that palliative care “has no less value on account of the fact that it does not save lives. Palliative care recognises something equally important: recognising the value of the person.”
All religions have networks of hospitals all over India. If only they would all heed the papal voice, what a huge burden of suffering would disappear from our country!