Published on: March 31, 2016

Dear Friends,

WHO Collaborating Centre – renewal of designation for 4 years


We are glad to report that the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Policy and Training on Access to Pain Relief at Trivandrum completes four years of its operation on 31st March 2016. We have achieved significant progress during this period of time and are very pleased that a renewal of designation for another four years has been made by the World Health Organization.

Our particular thanks to everyone who has helped, particularly to Kathleen Holloway (WHO SEARO), who is retiring on the day we complete four years of our Collaborating Centre status. Best Wishes, Kathleen, for your retired life, and thank you very much for all the help rendered to us. Thank you to all officials who have supported us from WHO (India), WHO SEARO and WHO headquarters at Geneva.

Pallium India is now accredited by Government of Kerala

We are happy to inform all our well-wishers and friends that under a new scheme of department of Social Justice of Government of Kerala, Pallium India is now one of 12 NGOs accredited by it.

Thank you everyone, for your support.

An important step forward

The commission on narcotic drugs (CND), a body of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has come out with a historic “outcome document” on 23 March 2016 for submission to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs which meets in April 2016. You can read the document here: UNGASS Outcome Document

Thank you for your untiring advocacy for this, Katherine Pettus, Diederik Lohman, Stephen Connor, Liliana De Lima, Jim Cleary, Rolg-Detlef, Chris Ford and many others.

And thank you Nandini Vallath for representing Pallium India at the side event of CND at Vienna and advocating for this.

War on Drugs actively harms public health, warns study

According to a study commissioned by the Johns Hopkins Ivy League University and The Lancet, the five-decade long international “War on Drugs” has harmed the public health and should be scrapped in favour of a process of decriminalisation.

The Johns Hopkins University–Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy calls for worldwide reform of drug policies, including:

  • The decriminalization of minor and non-violent drug use, possession and petty sale
  • Enactment of policies that reduce violence and discrimination in drug policing
  • Increased access to controlled medicines that could reduce the risk of overdose deaths
  • Greater investments in health and social services for drug users

The report is based on an extensive review by the commissioners of the published evidence, and on original analyses and modeling on violence, incarceration, and infectious diseases associated with drug policies.

Dr Nandini Vallath, Pallium India’s WHO Collaborating Centre consultant, is one of the Lancet-Harvard commissioners who conducted this study.

Indians, bow your heads in shame.

What kind of people are we, if we allow millions of fellow human beings to suffer agonising pain so totally needlessly?

How can we allow this to happen when we grow the poppy, export shiploads of opium to the rest of the world for pain relief, and deny our own people of pain relief?

Read the article by Ms Katherine Pettus in EAPC blog, quoting the data from International Narcotics Control Board. The situation in India is abysmally poor.

What do we need? More important than anything else, more awareness about the problem, education of professionals and implementation of existing policies and laws.

The principle of balance should apply to everybody – including the media

It is sad that news often is one-sided. While it’s important to prevent prescription drug abuse, it is as important to prevent needless pain. It is not one or the other; pain relief is not an optional extra.

Please read the blog by Willem Scholten. Thank you, Avril Jackson, for bringing this to our attention.

Healthy India Alliance invites your participation

In an effort to contain the damage from non-communicable diseases in India, the global NCD Alliance convened a consultation of civil society organizations in July 2015. Following this, an Indian network called Healthy India Alliance has been announced. It is planning a national consultation on 25th to 27th April 2016 at Delhi. Civil Society Organizations are invited. Click here to read the details of the  Healthy India Alliance National Consultation.

Download the Healthy India Alliance_NC_RegistrationForm.

For additional details, please contact Prachi Kathuria at or call on +91-11 41031191.

Interested in starting a palliative care service in North India?

Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (a World Health Organization Collaborating Center), an organ of Pallium India, calls for Expression of Interest from medical institutions (medical colleges, cancer centers and major hospitals), preferably in North India, for undertaking development of palliative care services.

The aim of the project is to initiate palliative care in medical institutions which agree to making palliative care an institutional priority. The project will provide financial support, training of professionals and offer technical support to the selected institution.

All Government or charitable medical college hospitals or other major hospitals and major cancer centres are eligible to apply. Those from states without much development of palliative care services will be given priority.

The last date for receiving the filled expression of interest forms is 20th May 2016.

For more information on this program, please visit: Pallium India’s Outreach Programs

Interested institutions are requested to fill up the expression of interest form and to send it to

If you had to choose between wealth and happiness, what would you choose?

Happiness IndexIn 1972, Bhutan’s King challenged the world to give importance to human happiness than to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Are the richest nations necessarily the ones where people are happy? The concept caused some a kind of revolution. Happiness seemed too soft, and not scientific and measurable enough to our trained material world. Yet, it found its way to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Among 156 countries that were included in the World Happiness Report 2016, India ranked 118th, one slot below its position last year.

Look at the latest report at:

“I cannot bear to see this suffering anymore!”

“Please finish him off,” said the thin elderly woman. “Please put something into him. Please…”

I was taken aback. Was she asking me to kill her husband? I stammered some response. Seeing that I was not going to oblige, she grabbed my hand and added, “I promise, I promise by everything solemn to me that I will not breathe a word of this to anyone. No one will know. Only you and I will. Just finish him off. I cannot bear to see this suffering anymore.”

She was so exhausted that she was barely able to get up. The desperation in her voice was compelling. “Please…”

Her husband, who was on the examination couch, had banged his head against the wall. Blood was oozing out of the ugly cancer on his cheek. He thrashed about and made weird noises, like an animal being tortured. My colleagues were already with him. I had been about to join them when I felt her tug in my arm and heard her strange request. I sat down beside her and laid my hand on hers.

“It’s all my fault,” she said. I was surprised. How can his cancer be her fault?

“He had tried to save himself by jumping out of the window,” she said. “It was a tall, tall hospital. He could have escaped from this life. But I screamed and yelled and dragged him back.

“People came and restrained him. I should have allowed him to go. Then he would not have had to bear this endless agony.”

She went on to describe the suffering: how for days and nights through months he continued to be in sleepless anguish, how he seemed to be losing his mind.

“He was a good man,” the lady told me. “He looked after the children and me well. He was a good man. He did not deserve this.”

In this article published in International Doctors for Healthier Drug Policies (IDHDP) website, Dr M.R.Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, recalls a heart-wrenching story of a family who suffered for months before eventually getting proper pain management.

Continue reading on ehospice

Seeking Experienced International Physicians

Pallium India seeks clinically experienced international physicians who are able to practice and teach in a variety of settings, include home visits, outpatient visits, and the inpatient unit. They must be adaptable to new environments and be able to commit to over 3 months. Pallium India will provide translators as most patients will prefer to speak Malayalam. Teaching will be done in English.

If you are interested, please write to us:

Certificate Course at Jaipur postponed

We regret to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, the upcoming 6-weeks certificate course at Jaipur has been postponed. New dates have not been finalised.

We apologize for any inconvenience. Kindly write to for information.

Read more about our Courses.

IAHPC Traveling Scholarships to the International Palliative Care Conference of the African Palliative Care Association

International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) is providing 15 scholarships to support the travel of palliative care workers to attend the 5th International Palliative Care Conference of the African Palliative Care Association in Kampala, Uganda, August 16-19 2016.

The applicants must be:

  • Living in Lower, Lower-Middle and Upper- Middle income categories as per the World Bank income classification data. Preference will be given to individuals living and working in African countries.
  • Active members of IAHPC. (If you wish to apply and are not an IAHPC member, you can join by clicking here.)
  • Working actively in palliative care.

Preference will be given to individuals who have not received an IAHPC grant in the past three years, are at least 50% dedicated to palliative care in their current work, graduated less than 10 years ago from their specialty or medical school, and with accepted poster or oral presentations in the Congress. APCA will give discounted registration fees to individuals from African countries and an early bird fee for individuals applying before April 30, 2016. Additional information about the congress is available in the congress website. Applications from physicians, nurses, psychologists and other disciplines are welcome. More detailed information about the application process and the online form are available at the IAHPC website.

Deadline to apply is April 15, 2016. Results will be announced by early May.

Applicants who submitted abstracts and whose posters are accepted, also need to send to IAHPC the confirmation of the acceptance after they receive it from APCA. The last date to submit abstracts is 1 April, 2016.

Scholarship Program for Certificate Courses

Indo American Cancer Association (IACA), in association with TIPS (an organ of Pallium India), is offering a scholarship to undergo a 6 weeks residential/non residential palliative care training course at selected centres in India:

Type of Scholarship

Depends on performance of the candidate in the telephonic interview conducted by IACA interview panel.

Full support to the outstation candidates includes – Travel, accommodation, canteen, local travel, fees with cap on all items. Partial support is given to the local candidates.


  • Doctor – MBBS
  • Nurse – BSc/GNM

Please click on the following link for more info:

For more information on our courses, please visit:

Upcoming Courses on Palliative Care

Pallium India, in collaboration with other organizations, conducts courses on palliative care for health care professionals and volunteers in different parts of India.

(CCPPM: Certificate course in pain and palliative medicine for doctors. CCPN: Certificate course in palliative nursing for nurses. CCPC: Certificate course in palliative care for non-doctor, non-nurse participants.)

Please note: IACA scholarships are available for limited number of applicants.

For the complete course schedule and other details, please visit our Courses page.

Prof Max Watson gets coveted award

Dr Watson receiving the award

Professor Max Watson, a great friend of palliative care in India, has been named the recipient of this year’s Fiona Bradley Award, reports Irish Medical Times.

In the citation for Prof Watson, who has also trained in theology and general practice, GP and Professor of Urban General Practice at UCD Prof Walter Cullen said: “The Award celebrates the contribution of our late colleague Dr Fiona Bradley as an independent fearless voice in Irish society. Prof Watson has certainly made a sustained difference to the social and scientific dimensions in healthcare both in Ireland and internationally and certainly fulfils the criteria on which the Award is based.” Read the news report.

Thank you, Max, for all that you did for our people in India.

[Professor Max Watson (3rd from left) with the family of Dr. Fiona Bradley]

Books donated to school children

John Ely with school childrenProf. Rangaswamy Rajagopal, a long time friend of Pallium India, from the University of Iowa, has donated books by Disney Publishing to be distributed to children from low income families.

Our volunteer, Dr John Ely, our CEO Mr Manoj G. S. and members of Pallium India staff visited Sisuvihar UP School, Vazhuthacaud, Trivandrum, and handed over these books to the children. There were 250 books in English for children of age group 3-12 years, including stories, activity and coloring books.

Thank you, Prof. Rangaswamy Rajagopal. Your support means a lot to us.

[Dr John Ely with the school children]

Where is the need? There we go.

Ann Broderick inauguratingWith a huge patient population with head and neck cancers in our country, dental and oral care is so very essential to relieve suffering. Our children, whether with cancer or with neurological deficits, commonly have dental problem too. It is so hard for them to access kind and inexpensive dental attention.

Pallium India’s Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS) is venturing into this area. On 11th March 2016, our dear Dr Ann Broderick from Iowa, USA, threw the new dental clinic open to our patients. Our dentist-palliative care doctors, Dr Sreedevi Warrier and Dr Amrutha Thampi will be looking after this service.

This is the least we can do for them

Dr John ElyOur society is not kind to people with limitations in movement – like those on wheelchairs. It’s almost as if the society deliberately creates barriers to deny them access to our roads, our side-walks, our public locations.

Despite everything, they are amazing with their creativity. Pallium India office opened a little stall to display products of these wonderful people. On 11th March 2016, Dr John Ely, the kind doctor from the USA who is helping us for a few months, opened the stall for sale.

Do your shopping here and encourage these very talented people!

Food festival at Trivandrum on March 18 and 19

Food festival noticeVolunteers and well wishers of Pallium India are organizing a food festival in Trivandrum on March 18 and 19 to raise funds for patient care, rehabilitation and educational support for patients’ children.

  • Venue: Canara Bank, Spencer Junction, Trivandrum
  • Date: March 18 and 19
  • Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

We request your support. Please visit with your family and make this program a success.

Workshop for Social Workers

State Level Workshop on Palliative Care for Social Workers 4Pallium India, in collaboration with Kerala University Social Workers Association (KUSWA), Department of Sociology, Kerala University, and Association of Professional Social Workers for Social Change (APSSC) organized a State level workshop on Palliative Care for Social Workers on March 23rd at Kerala University Campus at Kariavattom.

image06Palliative Care Information Centre

Contact Pallium India’s Information Centre (9 am to 12 noon) for information related to palliative care and about establishments where such facilities are available in India.

Telephone: +91-9746745497 or E-mail:
Address: Pallium India, Arumana Hospital, Perunthanni, Trivandrum

For more details, please visit:

News from around the world


Don’t miss reading this book

When Breath Becomes AirPaul Kalanithi, neurosurgeon, writer and a great human being, died of cancer in March 2015. He died young, having just completed his senior residency. He wrote “When Breath Becomes Air” while under treatment. Don’t miss it; it teaches life’s precious lessons. And death’s.

“I had”, Paul wrote, “traversed the five stages of grief – the “Denial → Anger → Bargaining → Depression → Acceptance” cliché – but I had done it all backward…….And now finally, may be, I had arrived at Denial. Maybe total denial.”

But not really. That denial was not final. He learnt acceptance and died, looking death in the face, leaving behind his loving wife Lucy and eight month old daughter Cady.

Lucy writes in the epilogue, “I expected to feel only empty and heartbroken after Paul died. It never occurred to me that you could love someone the same way after he was gone.”

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