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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Palliative Care Workshop at RIMS - Ranchi organised by Cancer Aid Society

The first ever Workshop on Palliative Care was organized under auspices of American Cancer Society USA by Cancer Aid Society and Dept. of Anesthesiology at Patna Medical College Hospital today which was Inaugurated by The Director & CEO RIIMS Prof. Tulsi Mahato, who appreciated the effort to improve the Palliative Care facilities and offered his full support. Prof. Ajeet Kumar HOD Anesthesia Welcomed the delegates and lauded the efforts of Cancer Aid Society for the humanitarian cause. Medical Supdt. assured full cooperation.
The Keynote Address was presented by Dr. Sukdev Naik Director, RCC Cuttack and Guest Faculty who later conducted the Workshop.  WHO’s Perspective was explained by Mr. Piyush Gupta, PEO and Mrs. Preeti Director Cancer Aid Society gave the vote of thanks.
Program was facilitated by Prof. Govind Sahai and conducted by Dr. Somil Rastogi.

Cancer Aid Society raised a question to us:
Even the hardcore criminals who are sentenced to death are asked for their last wish which is fulfilled and they are given a painless death. It is indeed very unfortunate that in our country the patients who get a death warrant by Cancer have to suffer for months together in excruciating pain cursing themselves for none of the sins they have committed. Should they not be given freedom from acute pain as they pray for an early death to get rid of the pain. Yes they can ! says WHO by giving Oral Morphine. Then why do they suffer despite India being one of the largest producer of Morphine in the World which is exported for foreign exchange at the cost of the sufferings of the Cancer patients which can only be realized by them or their families. Our friends sitting in the Central and State Excise and Narcotics Department apprehend its misuse but where has the principle of our legal system gone which emphasizes that several convicts may be compromised to save a single innocent whereas the controllers of Morphine believe that hundreds of Cancer patients may be compromised over one apprehension of misuse. In fact we are living in a highly civilized society where even media plays a passive role when it comes to sensitizing the lawmakers. NGOs are left alone to fight this already lost battle.

About 1 million people experience excruciating cancer pain in India every year which destroys the quality of life of the patient together with the family. Dr. Sukdev Naik said that Palliative Care is all about looking after such people with incurable (life limiting) illnesses, relieving their sufferings and supporting them through difficult times which in turn improves the quality of life of these individuals. It is all about “Adding life to their days and not just days to their life”.

He further said that “Palliative Care for all individuals in need is an urgent humanitarian responsibility and should be the basic human right. Many states in India have no facility to dispense morphine, only 14 States/ UT are prescribing some morphine and have some palliative care services and have immense difficulties with morphine availability. < 3% cancer patients have access to adequate pain relief (Lancet 2001). Need of oral morphine in India is >2 million whereas <1% receive it. WHO says that Oral Morphine is non addictive and is the drug of choice for the Cancer Pain Management. Despite India’s heavy Cancer burden it consumes far less Morphine than most Countries where it has steadily increased. In India it has drastically come down to 10% since 1985 whereas it leads in supply of Opium to other Countries; while the Indian Patients die painful death.

Purpose of the workshop is to sensitize others that “there is always something which can be done” even to a terminally ill patient by integrating holistic Palliative Care i.e.:

·         Physical
·         Psychological
·         Social
·         Spiritual

By incorporating all the above components we intend to improve the “quality of life” of the patients suffering from Cancer. We all know that Palliative Care is the “CARE BEYOND CURE” or “CARING FOR THE UNCARED”.

Mr. Piyush Gupta informed according to WHO one third of the world’s ten million cancer cases diagnose each year can be prevented and other third can be cured through early detection and treatment. For the remaining one third incurable cases sufferings can be greatly relieved through effective palliative care. By definition WHO refers palliative care as:
l  Provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms;
l  Affirms life and regards dying as a normal process;
l  Intends neither to hasten or postpone death;
l  Integrates the psychological and spiritual aspects of patients care; Offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death;
l  Offers a support system to help family cope during the patient’s illness and bereavement;
l  Will enhance quality of life, and may also positively influence the course of illness;
l  Is applicable early in the course of illness, in conjunction with other therapies that are intended to prolong life, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

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