At this moment, over a million people in India are in unimaginable pain. We refuse to look the other way. We choose to hear the cry, and to do what we can.
Please join us. Your help is needed.

Congratulations Esther Munyoro!

2019 December 22

We are so very glad to see that Dr Esther Munyoro has been awarded “The Order of the Grand Warrior” by the President of Kenya “in recognition of outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation in various capacities and responsibilities”. Congratulations, Dr Esther Munyoro!

A long time back, we had included Esther’s comments on lack of pain relief in India on these columns. Please read: Health tourism in India – why no pain relief?

Why do young doctors take up palliative care?

2019 December 18
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Dr M. R. Rajagopal, Chairman of Pallium India, writes:

I met these two young doctors at the Annual conference of Association of Radiation Oncologists of India (AROICON 2019) – Dr Mayur Ghoghari and Dr Kikato Chishi – both belonging to the first batch of doctors joining the MD course in Palliative Medicine at GCRI, Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Mayur wearing red and Kikato in black.

Mayur had one life-changing experience at the age of four. His mother died of cancer. In pain. He lives with those painful memories.

Kikato hails from Nagaland. He happened to hear one lecture which changed his life. He heard Gilly Burn.

 

Gilly Burn is the phenomenon that has inspired at least two generations in India with her advocacy for palliative care. I personally remember listening to her in 1992 talking about treating breathlessness with morphine – for which until then was taught breathlessness was an absolute contraindication! For the last couple of years, she is working with Pallium India on palliative care advocacy focusing on medical and nursing students in various parts of India. North, South, East, West – Gilly has been everywhere.

And Dr Kikato Chishi is living proof of the power of her words. Can you see the cascade effect? One talk, yes, is only one talk. But the end result is the magical relief from pain and suffering for thousands in future.

Best wishes, Mayur and Kikato. May you wipe many a tear! And live with satisfaction, if not with great luxuries.

Thank you Gilly, for all that you have done for India. The power of your sincerity, words and deeds have scooped away a huge chunk of suffering in our country.

Kerala’s palliative care policy revised:

2019 December 11
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It is only a few months since Pallium India requested a revision of Kerala’s Palliative care policy. Thanks to the special interest taken by the honourable health minister Smt. Shailaja Teacher and the principal Secretary (health) of government of Kerala Dr Rajan Khobragade, and the able leadership of Shri S M Vijay Anand IAS, (former chief secretary of Kerala who chaired the committee), things moved fast and to coincide with Universal health coverage day, 12 December 2019, the state has a revised policy. This was done after a thorough review of the Policy document first created in 2008, analysing the gaps and including the measures to fill them.

The theme of universal health coverage day says “Keep the promise”.

Kerala government did precisely that.

Thank you, honourable health minister Smt. Shailaja Teacher and Dr Rajan Khobragade.

You can read the Kerala state palliative care policy document here; but in addition we attach, a list of major changes in the document from the 2008 policy. Thank you Ms Shriya Singh, resource mobilization manager in Pallium India for creating this list.

Here is why palliative care for humanitarian crisis is so important.

2019 December 5
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Are we doing enough for migrants, refugees, people who have fled war-torn zones and for those in natural disasters?

Please read: Palliative care as a basic healthcare right: A new consensus within the humanitarian community

We’re all in this together

2019 December 3

Nincy Mariam Mondly, Pallium India’s friend and a wheelchair user, writes:

Today being the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, let us bring to light how our lives as persons with disabilities continue to be lived – NOT to the fullest. While we are, for better or worse, inevitably different from the usual crowd, our dreams and desires refuse to be caged by the limits set by our bodies.

Goals to improve the quality of lives of people like us are loaded with adjectives like ‘inclusive’, ‘integrative’, ‘equitable’ and such. But how often do you see a wheelchair-bound person in a public place? Clearly what is on paper hasn’t been put to practice.

What connects the bits that make up the whole of a common man’s life is lacking for persons with disabilities. That is to say, if the common man/woman has or can find means to connect his/her health, home, education, workplace and much more in life, it is not so for persons with disabilities. For, even if the right to education may exist, he/she may not be able to pursue it because there is no affordable and available means of regular public transport. As for job opportunities, to go beyond ‘making a living’ to ‘loving your work’ seems more utopian for people like us than everyone else. The same walls that confine us can often comfort us a bit too much that we lose the courage to fight for the rights that remain in books.

And if we were to strive for the implementation of these rights, who would lead us? Because we are unable even to reach out to each other, let alone to the general public.

All of us, labelled either ‘well-abled’ or ‘disabled’, partake in the sunlight that falls over us and the air that we breathe. If a flood comes to kill, it can kill us all. We together form this society and if we were to join hands to uplift each other, it would be just like holding tight the baton and running the best race we can. For the relay we are, is best played together.