Published on: April 1, 2021

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Great news! Palliative care guidelines from National Cancer Grid

Dr Nandini Vallath, writing on behalf of National Cancer Grid (NCG), informs us that 20 clinical practice guidelines have been uploaded on the NCG webpage. 

Here is the link. Palliative care DRAFT Guidelines 2021 – NCG (

The same page also provides a link to post i) General feedback and / or ii) Individual feedback for each guideline.

The feedback form will remain open for comments until the 24th of April 2021. NCG seeks suggestions for modifying the draft guidelines with evidence supporting the proposed changes. This draft will then undergo due review process. 

Training in pain management and eligibility for “Recognised Medical Institutions” for morphine.

The Drugs Controller of Kerala has published an order (No.1370/2021/DC 19.03.2021) making online training adequate for a doctor to be in charge of stocking and dispensing morphine and other step 3 opioids in any recognised medical institution. The order in Malayalam can be translated as: “Online training in pain and palliative care management is approved for getting RMI status”.

When the Indian parliament amended the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) act in 2014 and published the relevant rules in 2015, it was mentioned that for any healthcare facility to be considered a recognised medical institution, it should have one doctor with training in pain management. The nature of the training was not specified in the rules. Therefore, it is now left to the discretion of the drug controllers of individual states to decide what is eligible training. In Kerala, 10 days of clinical training had been considered mandatory for many years.

When that clause was brought in, there was an understanding that this would be necessary only so long as doctors continue to be unfamiliar with opioid medicines. From 2019, medical students formally learn pain management as part of their curriculum. In 2020, when Covid19 brought a halt to all physical courses and virtual education became the order of the day and as educators developed the ability to impart knowledge and skills using online platforms, the need for changing strategy came apparent. Thank you Mr Narayanan Puthukkudy, President of Kerala chapter of Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) for facilitating this action by the drugs controller of Kerala.

Understandably this is now applicable only to Kerala. But we will now be able to quote this as precedence for adoption by other state drugs controllers too.

Contest Alert!

Participate in Pallium India’s “World Health Day Contest” and win prizes!

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IAPCON 2021 goes online – a novel experience

Dr Arjun Devarajan, Palliative Care Physician at Pallium India, writes:

The 28th annual international conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPCON 2021) was held from 19th to 21st of March 2021 at AIIMS Patna, the land where enlightenment dawned upon those who sought. This first ever online conference of IAPC was organized under the leadership of Dr U K Bhadani (Organising secretary) and Dr Chandni Sinha (Scientific secretary).

The motto of the conference was ‘Searching Empathy Through Research’.

The event started with impressive workshops on End of life care and communication for doctors and nurses, conducted by faculties from different parts of the country. Putting an end to all uncertainties and apprehensions, IAPCON 2021 was inaugurated at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Patna by Prof. Prabhat Kumar Singh, Director, AIIMS Patna. Scientific sessions of the conference were held from 4 PM to 8 PM and where led by eminent personalities from various parts of the world.

The conference also witnessed the declaration of most awaited and anticipated ‘International Award for Excellence in Palliative Care 2020-21’ by Cancer Aid Society, in which our own Ashla Rani was declared a winner in ‘Volunteers’ category. Kudos to her!!! Mr Suresh T. P., Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi won the award in the ‘Nursing’ category and Dr. Stanley Macaden, Founder of Palliative Care Service at Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Bangalore, and National Coordinator of Palliative Care Programs, Christian Medical Association India was the recipient under the ‘Doctors’ category.


PHFI Certificate Course concludes

On the 27th of March, we concluded the first season of the Certificate Course in Palliative Care, in collaboration with the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).

It was attended by 66 doctors from across the country, almost all of whom had no prior exposure to Palliative Care. The course was designed and delivered by Palliative Care experts from around the country.

The level of interaction and engagement, the deeply insightful questions posed, the enthusiasm expressed to learn more, to incorporate these approaches in their own specialities and to even start services are a testament to the value of the program.

The final module was on End of Life Care, Grief and Bereavement, bringing to a close 6 weeks of sessions.

When asked “why should Palliative Care be a part of your practice?”, the participants’ responses not only reflected what they had so keenly learnt, but also demonstrated their deeply humane and compassionate perspectives.

Our next series will commence in August. Watch this space for more information!

A phenomenal rise – TIPS-ECHO

Project ECHO has enabled the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS) to capacitate and train providers, volunteers and beneficiaries in integrating palliative care into their practice as well as their lives.

The year 2020 saw a phenomenal rise in ECHO programs and participant numbers. A year when everything went virtual, we were able to leverage technology to step up palliative care training at a time when it was sorely needed. The Pallicovid ECHO program specifically integrated palliative care principles with mainstream COVID management and patient care. We were able to break barriers and reach people who had been palliative care naïve up until that point.


Check out our training programs >>

Upcoming Events

Check out all our upcoming events:

For more information on any of these, write to:

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Video of the Month

Sapna is a cancer survivor. She was diagnosed when she was 19, when she was in college and living away from her parents. Understandably, she and her entire family were completely shocked by the test results and struggled to cope with the situation. Today, fifteen years later, she helps others navigating cancer, guiding them on what to expect, how to confront the dreaded illness, and so on. She has a message for all of us. Do watch.

Click here to watch:

Subscribe to Pallium India’s youtube channel for more videos.

Kerala Arts and Literary Association (KALA), UK is a charity that has the objective of raising the awareness of the arts and literary richness of Kerala and Malayalam.

This year, KALA UK is raising funds for Pallium India. Thank you, KALA UK! 

Click here to know more and to donate:

APHN Bursaries

APHC2021 provides scholarship (5,000JPY) to non-doctor applicants (especially nurse, medical staff, etc) (maximum 60 persons from developing countries/regions and maximum 60 persons from Japan).

Application Deadline: July 31, 2021

For more details on how to apply for this scholarship head to this link:

IAHPC Bursaries

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) is pleased to announce it will provide ten (10) Scholarships to support the participation of its members in the 14th Asia Pacific Hospice Conference (Online) on 13-14 Nov 2021.

Application Deadline: 30 June 2021

To apply or for more information on the eligibility criteria, please click here.

Who was happier – the visitors or the hosts?

On World Down Syndrome Day, March 21, 2021, Pallium India’s teams visited 8 children with Down Syndrome who are in our care. Each of the three teams consisted of a doctor, a nurse, volunteers, and palliative care assistants.

Ever since Covid-19 struck, our teams were unable to see the children regularly, since only their family members would visit our OP for medicines and to share updates about them. So this visit was very special – and so full of joy – for us as well as for them.

View more photos on our Facebook page – the smiles say it all!

World Social Work Day, March 16, 2021

On World Social Work Day, March 16, Pallium India, in collaboration with Kerala Association of Professional Social Workers (KAPS) Trivandrum Chapter, organized a webinar on “The Role of Social Workers in Various Settings”. The panelists included Dr Sonny Jose, Mr Jose Kunju K J, Ms Amrida G S, Ms Resmi G Pillai, Ms Savitha V Raj, Mr Praveen S P, Ms Lakshmi K, Ms Arya R Chandra, Mr Sajan Antony and Ms Elna Joseph.

On the same evening, a small get-together with entertainment programs called “Sneha Nilavu” was organized in Pallium India’s premises for the people and families in our inpatient unit. This was arranged by Pallium India’s staff with the help of students from Trivandrum Law College and Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

New graphic novel aims to spark conversations about end-of-life and palliative care

Healthcare without Dignity – Can our autonomy as individuals remain independent of our health?

When Talking About Death Is Taboo, How Can Grieving People Heal?

Creating a ray of hope in another’s life

Jimmy Das, Counselling Psychologist, writes:

Our life is not a bed of roses. Some days are full of joy and happiness while other days prick us with thorns of anger, sadness, confusion. But no matter what emerges, the journey of life continues irrespective of our emotions.

Covid-19 has been a stark reminder of long-lasting inequities in our society, and the losses have altered people’s lives in enormous ways. Unfortunately the real impact will remain in many households.

Apart from medical professionals, mental health professionals have also played an important role in helping people cope with their losses, enabling them to overcome different kinds of psychological distress.

I was lucky enough to be a part of the Sukh-dukh helpline programme, initiated by Pallium India in collaboration with MIND India, Caregiver Saathi and EdJackLegs, in October 2020 to provide emotional support from trained and experienced counselors to those who suffering from grief and bereavement. This wonderful programme is a free tele-counselling service in eight different languages reaching people in different parts of the country.

When we began the service I wondered how people would respond, and initially the beneficiaries did express a few doubts. Thanks to the dextrous and sensitive handling of cases by the volunteer counselors we began to overcome challenges such as trust issues (being a tele-counselling format) and network issues. Consoling clients over the phone as they had emotional breakdowns was difficult at times because of the physical distance, but our counselors persevered, and when I came across the feedback from the beneficiaries, it was overwhelmingly positive. That, in turn, motivated all of us and reminded us that creating a ray of hope and positivity in someone’s life is not an easy task, but something that is worth doing, no matter what the challenges.

Sukh-Dukh Helpline (SDH) is a platform that offers Psychological First Aid as well as grief and bereavement counselling to affected persons across India to cope with the losses experienced in the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sukh Dukh Helpline: +91 759 4052 605 /

Click here to know more.

Help is just a call away.

The current pandemic has brought with it a cloud of grief, and many of us are not equipped with the tools to deal with it.

If you have lost a loved one, if you are finding it hard to cope, if you are feeling sad, angry or lonely, do call us:

SUKH-DUKH Helpline +91 759 4052 605

Do share this with your friends who might need emotional support.

Congratulations, Dr Ravi Kannan & Dr Gautam Majumdar!

We are very glad to see the recognition of two of Pallium India’s close collaborators with the annual BBCI award from Guwahati, Assam.

Dr Ravi Kannan, 2020 Padmashree awardee and Director of Cachar Cancer Institute at Silchar, Assam, a great humanitarian, was our associate in making his institution a “pain-free hospital”, one in which every doctor and nurse has had training in pain management, and every patient is asked “Do you have pain?” and is offered pain management.

Dr Gautam Majumdar, former medical superintendent of the Regional Cancer Centre, Agartala, worked with Pallium India to establish palliative care services in his RCC. He went far beyond that and got Palliative care services across to all districts in the state.

All of us at Pallium India are proud of your achievements, Dr Ravi Kannan and Dr Gautam Majumdar.


Help Loved Ones Heal

Zavher Chowdhury, who was a caregiver for her parents, writes:

It is never easy to look after a loved one with a terminal illness such as cancer. The news that my mother had cancer shook my world. A carefree 24-year-old back then, I was confused and shocked. 

In situations such as mine, when you are suddenly pushed into the urgent role of a primary caregiver for an immediate family member, there is no time to get ready for an untrained task, something that requires courage, patience, knowledge and professional support. I tried to stay strong throughout the journey that she bravely travelled, and as I did so, a big part of me changed forever.   

My mummy had started noticing bloating and discomfort in her abdomen for months. She also had a very severe case of flaking skin for which she was put on steroids. We were very concerned, but her doctor told her that the bloating was because she was putting on weight. Another doctor said it was due to the steroids she was taking for her skin issue. In Mumbai, a thorough examination by a doctor-friend revealed her abdomen was full of fluid. Further investigations revealed she had Stage IV Ovarian Cancer. 

I took a long leave from work to be with her, to take care of her. All that mattered to me at that point was the precious time I could spend with her.

Read more and watch Zavher’s video >>

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