Nepalese Association of Palliative Care (NAPCare)

Various individuals and organizations have been providing palliative care in Nepal through several programs for a long time. Bir Hospital, a Nepalese government hospital, started an oncology unit in 1991. In 2000, Hospice Nepal was started. The Nepalese Network for Cancer Treatment and Research (NNCTR), a branch of INCTR, started in 2002 and includes palliative care as part of its activities. B.P. Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital, a government funded cancer hospital, opened a hospice and palliative care wing in 2004. Thankot Hospice Center, the only 100% charity hospice in Nepal, was established in 2007 with the help of Korean friends. Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, which opened in 1998, has provided palliative care services in close cooperation with NNCTR and INCTR since 2002. The hospital has a 12 bed palliative care ward serviced by a dedicated palliative care team. In 2006, it started a twinning project with Nanaimo Hospice, in Canada.

Health workers involved in these and other organizations felt that the quality of palliative care could be improved if palliative care activities were coordinated through an association. With this in mind, twenty-two representatives from institutions in Nepal met together on July 2nd 2009 to discuss establishing a national palliative care association. An eleven member ad hoc committee was formed. Individuals and organizations both nationally and internationally helped with different aspects of the association. After several rounds of meetings, the Nepalese Association of Palliative Care (NAPCare) was formed with its own constitution and was officially registered on December 16th, 2009. It is run by an eleven member executive committee. INCTR deserves special thanks for coordinating and playing a vital role in the establishment of NAPCare.

The objectives of NAPCare are to provide support, education and networking opportunities to our members. NAPCare aims to support patients and family members, and to inform and educate the community about palliative care. NAPCare will help to develop a national palliative care policy.

To achieve the above objectives , we are planning to conduct periodic meetings and conferences for the members of the association. NAPCare is also planning to publish a newsletter to improve the communication among members and the general public.
NAPCare is offering palliative care training that includes basic theory and clinical demonstrations. In September 2009, members of NAPCare were actively involved in a four week palliative care training program. In February 2010, there was another six week palliative care training program offered to nurses.

The association is also planning to develop national guidelines regarding practical problems that include cancer pain. NAPCare will coordinate with importers of morphine, the Department of Drug Administration and Drug Companies (Indian and Nepali) to improve the availability and accessibility of oral morphine in Nepal. National Healthcare Pvt. Ltd., one of the drug companies in Nepal, has started to manufacture morphine syrup in addition to morphine injection.

Bishnu D. Paudel, MD
International Pain Policy Fellow
Secretary, Nepalese Association of Palliative Care

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