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India

98% of Indians have no access to pain relief or palliative care: expert

Observing the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day, Senha Sandhya Age Care Foundation (ACF) in association with Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (HBCHRC) organised a music concert and cultural programme with nurses and volunteers to celebrate, support and speak up about the importance of hospice and palliative care here on Friday.

The theme of the day was ‘My Care, My Right.’ Dr. N.S. Raju, managing trustee and medical director, ACF, explained hospice care was model and philosophy of care that focussed on providing palliative care to patients with life-limiting illness, patients’ pain and other symptoms, attending to their and their family’s emotional and spiritual needs and providing support for their caregivers.

“About 98% of Indians today had no access to pain relief or palliative care. Diseases were treated while suffering was ignored. Inappropriate hi-tech intensive care at the end of the life deprived human beings of any semblance of dignity,” said Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, founder chairman of Pallium India,

Explaining the importance of the palliative care, Dr. Digumarti Raghunatha Rao, Director, Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, said awareness on preventive care was the need of the hour.

Without being called palliative care specialists, all branches of oncology do practise and provide palliation to patients under their care. Narrating the challenges faced due to lack of connectivity and coordination in rural areas where palliative care was not known, Dr. Vidya Viswanath, Department of Palliative Care, HBCHRC, said “the need of the hour is trained volunteers who can be become integral part of the care for enhancing quality of life of the patient in many ways.”

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