Published on: October 7, 2021

Saath Saath is a helpline for people and their families who need palliative care.

Introduction of a palliative care helpline marks a concerted effort by 11 palliative care organizations to address the inequity in access to palliative care services for patients and their caregivers.

Callers seeking assistance can get connected to palliative services in their preferred language from Hindi, English, Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, Assamese and Marathi

On 7th October 2021, 11 palliative care organizations in India announced the launch of the ‘Saath Saath’ helpline, in an effort to unify their actions and commitment to provide palliative care . The helpline is a national free-of-cost service where patients, caregivers and healthcare providers can be connected to the nearest palliative care center when required.  

The toll-free helpline ‘1800-202-7777’ will be operational from Monday to Saturday between 10 am to 6 pm. It offers direct service provision in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad and Guwahati.

India with a 1.2 billion population has a huge burden of suffering from life limiting diseases. Less than 1% of its population has access to pain relief and palliative care1. By offering pan-India coverage in multiple languages, this service aims that no person with a serious illness feels alone and can be connected to options such as pain relief, physiotherapy, diet advice and family counselling to assist them and their caregiver, with the help of qualified Healthcare Professionals and trained volunteers.

Speaking about the need for the helpline, Dr Rajagopal, Chairman, Pallium India said: “It would be easy to turn our backs to the sea of suffering out there and walk away. But we choose not to. We choose to face it and do what we can. Together.”

Commenting at the launch, Rumana Hamied, Managing Trustee, Cipla Foundation & Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre, said, “The Saath Saath helpline is a collaborative effort that offers an opportunity to people living with serious illnesses to find the right connects to get care that is responsive to their needs, at any point in their ailment journey.”

Sharing her thoughts, Harmala Gupta, Founder – President, CanSupport, said: “Saath Saath is really a dream come true. The idea of this helpline is really to enable people to have a way in which to express their feelings rather hide them, and also the gather the information they need. People will serious illnesses need to be in touch with compassionate, caring people who are non-judgemental, who are there to share their trauma and encourage them. I am confident that this helpline will serve this purpose and much more.”

This initiative is a joint effort between 11 leading palliative care organizations in India – CanSupport, Delhi; Romila Palliative care, Mumbai; Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai; PalCare, Mumbai; Sukoon Nilaya, Mumbai; Cipla Palliative Care & Training Centre, Pune; Karunashraya, Bengaluru; Dr Bhubaneswar Barooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati; Pallium India, Thiruvananthapuram; Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society, Hyderabad and The Indian Association of Palliative Care.

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