About » History

In 2005 a group of friends and colleagues who had a heart and a vision to facilitate, alongside partners, the growth of palliative care in the developing world came together at the invitation of Dr Mhoira Leng and Cairdeas was born. Cairdeas (pronounced cardis) is a Scottish Gaelic word meaning world wide friendship and fellowship and the word seemed to fit perfectly with the big vision and partnership model.

By 2006 Cairdeas had became a registered Scottish Charity.

While our vision and aims are regularly refreshed we continue to have three clear aims:

To work alongside existing and emerging services:

  • supporting education, training and curriculum development
  • offering specific clinical expertise, such as mentoring and service design
  • raising the profile of palliative care needs

The work initially focused on working with colleagues in Pallium India and subsequently Christian Medical College, Vellore. Dr Chitra Venkateswaran became our first international Cairdeas Faculty and we have welcomed several other Indian colleagues to our training and mentoring visits. We were approached by the Emmanuel Hospitals Association to support their new palliative care programme and continue to have other significant partnerships such as GPPCS (Guwahati Pain and Palliative Care Society) and Mehac.

Following a number of significant visits by our Medical Director, Dr Mhoira Leng, to Makerere University and Mulago Hospital in Kampala, she was asked to lead the development of a new Palliative Care Unit there in 2009.  This is our biggest partnership to date and allows us to model services, develop leaders, contribute to training at undergraduate and postgraduate levels across Africa, mentor and partner in the development evidenced based practice and continues to this day. Through this partnership we can also support global palliative care projects in particular working through MPCU with the Global Health Academy, University of Edinburgh. 

Cairdeas works as an expert resource to support partners and this can include facilitating grant funds, offering technical expertise. This has included carrying out service evaluations, the development of several training courses. We continue to work closely with international and national partners. Our new website will also offer resources produced by Cairdeas and also key global resources in one easy to find place.

In 2011 we started regular support and training visits to Khartoum, Sudan.

In 2014 Cairdeas became a SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation)

In 2014 Cairdeas Sahara was established to support the development of palliative care in West Africa.

In 2015 we supported a visit to explore palliative care support in Gaza.