Published on: November 21, 2019

Rontu Sangma, Pallium India’s Prog. Coordinator for North-East India, writes:

I had the wonderful opportunity and honour of meeting Gilly Burn, a dear friend of palliative care in India, and to accompany her on her official visit to Shillong, Nagaland, Silchar and Guwahati.

In recent years, Guwahati has become a new destination for health services. Northeast India is well blessed by Nature. Besides having spectacular biodiversity, wildlife, the snow-capped Himalayas, tropical forest, shrines of diverse religions, and prominent archaeological sites, the Northeast provides an immense opportunity for medical tourism. So, medical treatment in the Northeast means adding new life to health.

We first visited Shillong (Meghalaya) where Gilly Burn was the Guest of Honour at the North East Zone Critical Care Conference (NEZCCON) 2019 held at NEIGRIHMS (North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences), from 8-10 November 2019.

From there, we headed to Nagaland where Gilly was a special guest at several events including the CME & Workshop in Dimapur at CIHSR (Christian Institute of Health Sciences and Research). She was glad to meet the officials of Shalom Rehabilitation Centre, who are planning to building a palliative care centre in Dimapur. Her visit and valuable advice have helped them immensely.

At Kohima, Gilly met the Director and doctors of Naga Hospital Authority. The Bishop of Cathedral House Dr. James Thoppil was very pleased to receive her at the Cathedral. Gilly was mesmerized by the beauty of the Church house. The Church is noted for its architecture which incorporates many elements of traditionally Naga houses, including its façade which resembles that of a Naga house. The Bishop is keen on building a palliative care centre in Nagaland; the Shalom Rehabilitation Centre is a part of their institution.

We reached Silchar on 15th November. We conducted workshops for nurses and medical social workers. Dr.Ravi Kannan, Director of Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, was delighted to have Gilly Burn in their hospital and also included us in their Tumour Board meet. Gilly visited wards and interacted with patients, doctors and others. Her visit was like an enlightenment for many.

On 18th November we reached Guwahati for the 46th Foundation Day celebration at Dr.B.Borooah Cancer Institute where Gilly Burn was the Distinguished Guest. There were many important dignitaries present. On 19th, Gilly conducted workshops for doctors, nurses and medical social workers. She returned to England on the 20th November.

I had the most beautiful and educative experience while travelling with Gilly and hearing her talks. I hope she comes back to the Northeast again and again. Gilly’s sessions and talks have really brought positive changes towards Palliative Care in the mindset of the people.

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