Because the Patient matters- Pallium India, Kerala
Ms. Chaitalee Ghosalkar
Analyst, Sun Pharma
You that seek what life is in death,
Now find it air that once was breath.
What was once a human being, is now termed as a body. That is what death renders a person to. But the decline in the value of a man begins much earlier- with the loss of health, then of dignity before being reduced to nothingness.
No one can escape death. Yet, there is a possibility of making the passage to it much easier. One such organization that works towards the purpose is Pallium India.
A nationally registered charitable trust, Pallium India was formed in 2003 with a vision that every person has access to effective pain relief and quality palliative care along with disease-specific treatment and across the continuum of care.
Pallium aims to provide palliative care, i.e. improving the quality of life of people with life-limiting or disabling diseases, by treating pain and other symptoms and by providing emotional, social and spiritual support. In addition to this, Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS) in Trivandrum, Kerala, Pallium India’s flagship also works towards rehabilitation of patients and families by helping them to earn a livelihood again and by ensuring that children in those families continue their education.
The story behind the inception of the trust is interesting. Dr M R Rajagopal, Founder and Chairman of Pallium India had the experience of being the neighbour of a person suffering from cancer- a man in constant pain, during his medical student days. That, coupled with the tragic case of a professor afflicted with the same disease in his later years, shaped his path towards building the organization.
What began with Thiruvananthapuram has now expanded across to several other places like Dehradun, Lucknow, Patna, Shillong, Agartala, Nagpur, Pondicherry, Jamnagar, etc.
As the organization began to gain strong foothold, Dr Rajagopal realized the need for better laws, especially when it came to access to opioid medicines- a must for chronic pain treatment. Efforts led to the passing of the Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in 2014 which made pain relief medicine more accessible those suffering from chronic pain.
The work is steadily getting noticed. After Kerala, Maharashtra became the second state to announce a palliative care policy in June 2012, followed by Karnataka in November 2016. It also boasts of partnerships with the US like Indians for Collective Action and Indo American Cancer Association
The path, however, is still a long way to go. Currently, the organization is working towards increasing its national presence and running several awareness programs. It also welcomes volunteers who are willing to provide their time and effort.
Pallium India also offers several short courses:
- CCPPM: Certificate course in pain and palliative medicine for doctors.
- CCPN: Certificate course in palliative nursing for nurses.
- CPPAN: Certificate Program in Palliative Auxiliary Nursing
- Volunteer Training Program
- Virtual (online) courses are also available.
For further details and scholarship offers for these courses, please refer to https://palliumindia.org/courses/