A program aimed at promotion of palliative care in the North East region was organized under the aegis of Indian Association of Palliative Care – North East Zone on 2nd and 3rd December 2017 in Don Bosco Institute of Management, Kharguli, Guwahati Assam. Day -1 consisted of a focused group discussion on the theme “Promotion of Palliative Care Consciousness in the North East” with deliberations from palliative care stalwarts from all over India and attended by palliative care doctors, nurses, social workers and volunteers from parts of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, and Meghalaya.
The North Eastern states have a grim picture in provision of palliative care for the terminally ill patients even after the formulation of the National Palliative Care Policy and amendment of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. People in this part of the country still die in intense pain and suffering. The responsibility to take this forward must be realized and a palpable change must be brought about in north east. Unfortunately there has been no work done in the level of the government to formulate a State policy in Palliative care where other states like Manipur, Odhisha and West Bengal are way ahead. This program is a platform where people from different walks of life have gathered and collectively formulated a petition that will be presented to the state governments of all north eastern states for implementing a State Policy on Palliative Care.
Discussions covered issues pertaining to general perceptions of palliative care, the need of the media to bring in a change, and the responsibility of the state government to implement policies pertaining to palliative care. Swami Vikramananda of Ram Krishna Mission Ashram Guwahati blessed the occasion and stressed the importance of palliative care in the present health scenario of the society. He said that “Swami Vivekananda said that the highest use of life is to hold it at the service of all beings. Palliative care being the highest of such service is lacking and we all must join hands together to bring this into action.”
Invitees include Dr. Srinagesh Simha from Karunashraya Hospice Bangalore, Dr. Sukdev Nayak from All India Institute of Medical Science Bhubaneswar, Dr. Abhijit Dam Honorary Secretary of IAPC, Ms Radhika Singh Consultant and Social entrepreneur Kolkata, Dr. Dinesh Goswami of Guwahati Pain & Palliative Care Society, Dr. Dimpy Mahanta Assistant Professor of Psychology from Cotton University, Dr. Nepuni Athiko Head of Palliative Care Christian Institute of Health Science and Research Dimapur, and Dr. Jugindra S. Consultant Palliative Care Shija Hospital Imphal. This is the first time that people working in palliative care in the north east has come together under one roof to take the motto of IAPC forward.
The event was organized by Dr. Sanghamitra Bora, Central Council member from the North East Zone. The IAPC North East Zone has now started to focus on developing palliative care service in the region through community partnership, advocacy and capacity building activities. The certificate program conducted by IAPC faculty on 3rd December is a genuine start to these activities. There are several other plans to be conducted in Assam and adjoining states through the North East Zone of IAPC in the recent future.