Published on: December 2, 2018

Astana declaration

The famous Alma-Ata Declaration of 1978 had emerged as a major milestone of the twentieth century in the field of public health, and it identified primary health care as the key to the attainment of the goal of Health for All.

As a follow-up to the Alma-Ata declaration, the Declaration of Astana which has just been published (25, 26 October 2018) includes palliative care as a part of primary health care for Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

Click here to read the declaration of Astana.

Help Pallium India to treat serious health-related pain and suffering

Pallium India seeks your support:

We offer patients free palliative care as well as free medicines. For families who are struggling to put food on the table, we provide food packets. We also support the education of the kids in the suffering families.

Pallium India works only on donations.

To continue our work with patients and families, and to stop their suffering, we need money. With your kind help, we will be able to save lives, educate children and prevent these families from being destroyed.

Donate Now:

Please share this campaign with your friends and request them to donate to Pallium India.

Why should you see us differently?

Sumitha T. S., Project Officer at Pallium India, writes:

On 28 & 29 October, we conducted a two-day workshop at Sahodaran Community Oriented Health Development (SCOHD), Puducherry, to understand and address the needs of transgenders, and to introduce the concepts of palliative care among them. The workshop is a step towards ensuring we’re “leaving no one behind”.

(Read about the workshop here:

I would like to share an experience from the workshop, that touched me deeply. The group that came on the second day was older than the group that came on the first day. It was difficult for them to open up and their problems were different from that of the first group. When we started the group discussion, I joined a team of eight members. They talked about discrimination, stigma and accessibility issues. But the person who sat near me, well dressed in a saree and who appeared to be healthy, said, “I am all alone at home. I do not have anybody with me, for me to take care of or to take care of me. People including health care professionals approach us with hatred. If you get a wound, you bleed red, I too bleed red and not green; and then why should you see us differently? We are also human beings. I am HIV positive, I am taking medicines, and all that I get from the ration shop is a fixed quantity of rice and nothing else. I get a small pension and that’s how I survive.”

This is not the only story that I wish to narrate, but this is the shortest. Everyone had similar experiences. Loneliness, hopelessness and substance abuse were explicit among the group.

Friends, it is high time for us to realize that health care, including palliative care, must reach every human being in serious health related suffering irrespective of their gender or sexual orientation – they too bleed red, just as we do. Let me remind you that the 2017 Lancet Commission Report on Palliative Care mentions the need to develop access to mental health professionals. Literature review suggest that LGBTQI are at high risk of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal tendencies. This is the reason that Dr Seema Rao, an expert both in palliative care and psychiatry, has joined us as our resource person. At the workshop, we listened to only about sixty out of the 487,803 LGBTQI people (Census 11) in our country. Let us try to listen to each one of them and understand their needs.

Formal inauguration of Pallium India’s facility

Pallium India’s new facility at PMS Dental College Campus, Vattappara, Thiruvananthapuram, was inaugurated by Shri Kadakampally Surendran, state minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswom, on November 21, 2018.

Shri C. Divakaran MLA launched “Healing Wheels,” an initiative by College of Engineering (CET) students. Pallium India honoured auto drivers who take patients to the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) free of charge.

Pallium India’s inpatient unit, outpatient clinic, half-way home, pharmacy, training centre and other services operate out of this location. Pallium India also has an administrative office working from Sivamangalam Lane, Pattom, Thiruvananthapuram.

Read the news by The Hindu:

For more updates and photographs, please visit:

A whole day dedicated to palliative care at NAPCON2018

29 November 2018 saw a whole day’s pre-conference workshop dedicated to palliative care at Ahmedabad, prior to the National Conference on Pulmonary Diseases. As Dr Rajani Surendar Bhat pointed out quoting Victor Hugo, “Nothing can stop an idea whose time has come”. It now appears that palliative care has indeed arrived at the Pulmonary Medicine Fort.

Dr Sujeet Rajan and Dr Rajam Iyer, two pulmonologists from Mumbai took the lead in organizing a whole-day pre-conference workshop on palliative care.

The famous Dr David Currow (seen in the picture) from Australia was the star attraction.

There were talks, a panel discussion and role plays. All in all, a very satisfying day. Pallium India was privileged to be a part of it.

Screening of ‘Hippocratic’ at the World Congress of Bioethics, Bengaluru

Hippocratic – 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World’, the documentary film by Moonshine Agency, will be screened at the 14th World Congress of Bioethics and 7th National Bioethics Conference at Bengaluru.

Day: Wednesday, December 5

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Venue: St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru.

The film will be followed by an audience interaction led by Dr. M. R. Rajagopal (Chairman of Pallium India and 2018 Padmashree Awardee).

This film has successfully toured India, the US, Australia and Canada, shining a light on health equity in developing countries; palliative care in India and the ethical practice of medicine. It has also served as a platform for creating more conversations around access to, and availability of pain relief, and to demand a health care system that treats the person and not just the disease.

We look forward to your presence and participation at the event.

Thank you ECHO-India and Thank you PHFI.

In what we see as an exciting positive development, our internet-based ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) educational program is being successful in empowering health care professionals from all over the country. We have already completed 5 different ECHO courses, some with as many as 22 leading spokes. We are immensely grateful to Dr Sanjeev Arora, the pioneering founder of ECHO International who agreed to work with us and to build our capacity.

The famous Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) directed by Dr Srinath Reddy has taken over the task of evaluation of ECHO-India.

On the 27th of November 2018, we had representatives from both ECHO-India and PHFI on their evaluation visits. For us in Pallium India, it was a great learning experience.

Thank you for modelling the way, Dr Syam Unnikrishnan.

How accessible is a neurologist to you if you need one?

The World Health Organisation says that health care should reach people “when they need it, where they need it.

Does that really happen for all the poor people in our towns and villages? Or for the rich? A neurologist reaching you where you need him?

Yes – in Kollam, Kerala, it does.

Dr Syam Unnikrishnan (a neurologist with an interest and training in palliative care) from ESI Multi-speciality hospital makes house visits to people who just cannot get to him.

What keeps him going? Dr Syam says, “The relief on the bystander’s face. The satisfied smile – if you can see it at least once – is more than enough.”

Please watch:

26th IAPC Conference at Kochi – 8, 9, 10 Feb 2019

The 26th International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care – IAPCONKochi2019 – will be held on 8th, 9th and 10th February 2019 (with a Pre-Conference Workshop on 7th February 2019) at AELI Hills, Keezhmadu, Aluva, Ernakulam, Kerala, India.

The Conference theme “Voices in palliative care; ensuring quality, creating solutions” centres around the core palliative care attitude of listening…to those living with serious health-related suffering and their families, to our communities, to our palliative care teams, to global palliative care advocates and to our policy and academic leaders.

Abstracts can be submitted covering the conference theme “Voices in Palliative Care; Ensuring Quality; Creating Solutions”.

Last date for submission of Abstract is 30th December, 2018. For more details, please see:

To Register and for more information, please visit the conference website:

Follow IAPCONKochi2019 on Facebook:

Establish palliative care centres in all govt hospitals: PIL

Times of India reports:

A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking directions to the government to constitute palliative care centres in all government medical college hospitals, district headquarters and taluk hospitals.

The petitioner, P Prabhakar Pandian, an advocate stated that in Tamil Nadu, no palliative care units are available to the poor people, especially in rural areas. According to the petition, palliative care requires broad multi-disciplinary approach which includes good infrastructure and governance policy.

Read the complete article here

Video of the Month: Erase the pain, ease the suffering – #SayNoToPain

“It is an elephant in the room that we can no longer ignore – 55 million people in our country are victims of catastrophic health expenditure every year. Paying for health services pushes them into poverty. Children drop out of school, people lose their jobs and the ripple effect continues long after the patient is gone. India is somewhere near the bottom in the list of countries that have quality health care. But that need not be so. Palliative Care can reach hundreds and thousands of homes at very little cost,” says Dr Rajagopal in this interview with Democracy News Live.

Congratulations, Dr. Suresh Reddy!

Dr Suresh Reddy, Professor of palliative medicine at the famous MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Houston, Texas, has been our fellow traveller in the Palliative care movement in India. He has worked tirelessly, helping us to refine our educational programs, with advocacy and by raising resources. Proud of you dear Dr Suresh Reddy.

Thank you, IACA, for bringing us this very happy and welcome news. Congratulations, Dr Suresh Reddy.

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The money you give will pay for essential free medicines for the poor, for their travel to the clinic or for schooling of their children, or other forms of care.

Please give whatever you can. No amount is too small.

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Call us: +91-9746745497 (India) / +1-718-273-8597 (USA)

All donations to Pallium India are tax deductible.

Upcoming Events

  • Dec 5, 2018: Screening of “Hippocratic”, the documentary film by Moonshine Agency, at St. Johns National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, as part of the National Bioethics Conference. Contact:
  • Dec 7-8, 2018: 14th World Congress of Bioethics and 7th National Bioethics Conference. Venue: St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560034.
  • Jan 15, 2019: Kerala Palliative Care Day.
  • Feb 8, 9, 10, 2019: The 26th International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care – IAPCONKochi2019 – will be held on 8th, 9th and 10th February 2019 (with a Pre-Conference Workshop on 7th February 2019) at AELI Hills, Ernakulam, Kerala, India. Conference website: Last date to submit abstracts: Dec 30, 2018
  • Mar 4, 2019: 6 weeks certificate course in palliative medicine and nursing (CCPPM, CCPN) at Trivandrum. Register: Contact: / 8589998760. Last date to apply: Feb 18, 2019
  • Apr 26-28, 2019: Three day volunteer training program in Trivandrum including home visits. Contact:
  • May 1, 2019: 10-day Foundation course in palliative medicine, at Trivandrum. Register: Contact:

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image06Palliative Care Information Centre

Contact Pallium India’s Information Centre (9 am to 5 p.m., except on Sundays and National holidays) for information related to palliative care and about establishments where such facilities are available in India.

Telephone: +91-9746745497
or E-mail:
Address: VP 80/13, Golden Hills, Venkode P.O., Vattappara, Thiruvananthapuram 695028

For more details, please visit:


What a blessed life!

K R Raja is differently abled. Very differently; about a hundred times more abled than most humans!

When a man kills his wife in India, you know whom our system punishes more than the murderer? His children. They are sentenced to a lifetime of abandonment.

But not if Raja finds them. Al Jazeera writes, “Based in southern India, K R Raja works to ensure children who have been essentially orphaned receive support.” Read about this amazing human being: When a man kills his wife in India, what happens to the children?

[Image courtesy: Kamala Thiagarajan/Al Jazeera]

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