A New Milestone For Cancer Care In Hyderabad

A new beginning / Director's visit / Hospice / Inauguration / Lighting of lamp / Release of Ribbon, inauguration

On June 29th a brand new hospice was inaugurated in the city of Hyderabad, India.. Basic services will be available this week. The opening of the new hospice marks a major step forward in the provision of palliative care services in South India. The 25-bedded, free standing unit will greatly complement existing palliative care services, including home care, in the region. It was made possible by a partnership between the Pain and Palliative Care Society (PPCH) of Hyderabad, which provided the funding, and the MNJ Oncology Center (MNJOC), a government hospital that delivers cancer diagnosis and treatment to patients from the city of Hyderabad and environs. The new center will be located in a green area in the central part of the city. Initially, over 90% of hospice patients will come from MNJOC and it is hoped that an official relationship will be established between the new hospice and the MNJOC with respect to the provision of staff and medicines. The hospice will be supervised by INCTR's Coordinator for Palliative Care in India, Dr Gayatri Palat, who trained in palliative care medicine in India with Dr Raj Gopal of Pallium, India, has been the driving force behind the development of the palliative care program at MNJOC although her work would not have been possible without strong support from the MNJOC Director, Dr. Kannan. INCTR's PAX program, led by Drs Stuart Brown and Fraser Black and including expertize in palliative care nursing and social work (specifically, Virginia LeBaron, a palliative care nurse consultant, and Doug Ennals, a palliative care social worker respectively) along with Dr Gillian Fyles and Ms Zahra Lalani RN and other palliative care specialists from Vancouver and from Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration/INCTR Canada who have been very active in supporting the team have participated in the development of the program at MNJOC. This program now provides a broad range of training programs as well as comprehensive palliative care services. The programs at MNJOC and the new hospice, between them, will provide increased access to patients in need, whether requiring in patient, out-patient or community care. Home palliative care is also provided to a second city in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Secunderabad. Dr Palat has successfully advocated for increased access to opioids and in sensitizing policy makers, administrators and medical and nursing staff to the need for palliative care. The Hyderabad program has become a model program which, hopefully, will be emulated in many other regions of India. Promoting this may well be the next step.

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