July 27, 2019

Dr Saima Furqan, Project Officer, Pallium India, writes:

With a little uncertainty and a lot of curiosity, Pallium India stepped into the paradise on earth – Kashmir – with the sole purpose of improving access to palliative care in the state.

Pallium India pledged to spread positivity and care to every nook & corner of the state that is reeling under protracted turmoil and suffering. Considering the rise in incidence of cancer cases, we knew that palliative care is the need of the hour but convincing the stakeholders, particularly the people in government, was not at all an easy task. However, contrary to our expectations, the Directorate of Health along with State Drug controller showed great optimism towards this noble cause.

Subsequently, Pallium India, in collaboration with Directorate of Health, Kashmir, conducted a sensitization program at Regional Institute of Health & Family welfare, Dhobiwan, Kashmir on 27th July 2019*.

The program was attended by medical superintendents, physicians and senior nurses from each district of Kashmir, as well as officials from Directorate of Health and Drug Controller’s office.

Dr. Kunzes Dolma, Director Health, Kashmir inaugurated the program and addressed the audience, highlighting the importance of palliative care services in order to ensure that people who suffer from life-limiting diseases are assured comfort within possibilities. She further added that at least one doctor from every district hospital should be trained in palliative care to begin with. She also expressed her desire that palliative care reaches every household, by training the care givers at home.

During her speech, Dr. Kunzes appreciated the attempt taken by Pallium India and suggested that more programs like these should be conducted in future not only for the medical fraternity but also for the community.

The program was aimed at sensitizing audience about the power of palliative care including need and medical use of opioids in treating life limiting diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, CKD, respiratory disorders etc.

It was also aimed to perpetuate procurement of morphine in every district, for which Mr. Tariq Manzoor (Drug Control Officer) assured to provide list of identified pharmacies in every district by the State Drug Controller Office. He further suggested that as many as 100 doctors should be trained in the state for practicing palliative care.

Pallium India is excited with these developments and will be working closely with Department of Health to ensure hassle free access to availability of trained doctors, nurses and pain relief medications in the state.

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