On November 9th, 2022, a virtual workshop on “Opioids Availability” was conducted for the state of Maharashtra. The workshop was attended by 215 participants, including officials from the National Health Mission (NHM) and Maharashtra’s Food & Drugs Administration (FDA) department. The keynote speaker of the workshop was Dr. M R Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India.
The workshop started with Dr. Rajagopal giving a session on opioids and their use in Maharashtra. The discussion then moved on to the need for palliative care and pain relief for patients suffering from chronic pain, terminal illness, or cancer. The officials from NHM, including Dr. Sadhna Tayde, Dr. Padmaja Jogewar, Dr. Madhuri Mathurkar, and Mr. Ganesh Sonule, talked about the challenges and issues they faced in providing palliative care in the state.
The FDA officials, Sri D R Gahane, and Smt Harsha Mahale, discussed the regulatory framework for opioids and the challenges they faced in ensuring the availability of opioids. They suggested the need for an amendment in the existing regulations and sought the help of interested palliative care centers and organizations to draft a letter for the modification.
Members of various palliative care NGOs in Maharashtra, including Pheroza Billimoria, Dr. Armida Fernandez, Sonalini Mirchandani, and Mr. Raghu Roy, shared their experiences in providing palliative care services in the state. They emphasized the need for training programs for doctors and nurses in palliative care.
The workshop concluded with an engaging Q&A session and a plan for the way forward. The participants decided to hold follow-up meetings with Mr Gahane and the Mumbai Network to discuss the drafting of the amendment letter. They also planned to meet with Dr. Raj and Shalini to assist the Mumbai team in drafting the letter. Finally, they decided to follow up with NHM for palliative care training for doctors and nurses.
The workshop highlighted the importance of opioid availability and the need for palliative care services in Maharashtra. The participants discussed various challenges and issues and came up with a plan for the way forward to improve the situation. The workshop was a step in the right direction and provided hope for a better future for patients suffering from chronic pain and terminal illness in Maharashtra.