India has been one of the countries in which Cairdeas has been working since its inception. Working alongside such key influential Indian doctors as Dr M.R. Rajagopal our Medical Director Dr Mhoira Leng established relationships which would flourish over coming years. Dr Chitra Venkateswaran became our first international Cairdeas Fellow and we have welcomed many national and international colleagues to support training, service development, evaluation and mentoring. We have worked with services in Mizoram, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Rajastan and other states.
Our longest collaboration is with Pallium India where we have supported training in TIPS and mentored projects to develop palliative care in the regional cancer centres and universities across India. We worked with Christian Medical College and Hospital Vellore on the development of a Fellowship For the past 6 years we have been partnering with Emmanuel Hospital Association (EHA), under the leadership of Dr Ann Thyle, are working towards implementing palliative care in all their services. These hospitals and community projects support poor and marginalized populations across the North and East of India focusing on holistic support and poverty alleviation. Cairdeas have helped to build capacity within the developing palliative care teams and developed and delivered specially designed courses on topics such as research. Leadership, self-care, management, teaching, pain and symptom management and mentorship.
Through her work with an international mentoring initiative Mhoira continues supports two Indian doctors who are leading the development of services in Assam and Jaipur. One of the real joys of working with local enthusiasts is seeing them develop into leaders in their own countries. Cairdeas has an ongoing partnership with the Guwahati Pain and Palliative Care Society (GPPS) and regular input with Begwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, Jaipur.
The collaboration with individuals and services in India has also resulted in research publications which have been presented at International conferences especially regular involvement with the Indian Association for Palliative Care (IAPC). Another methodology for cross fertilisation of ideas and best practice is the facilitation of training faculty from services in other countries with similar health and resource issues. In the recent joint project with Palliative Care Works (PCW) trainers from Africa have supported the training in India and vice versa.
Palliative care in India has seen huge developments with the leadership of IAPC, Pallium India and others. There are now many centers where palliative care is not only provided but clinical staff are being trained. There are also changes in the national policy, national training initiatives such as the first MD in palliative care at Tata Hospital Mumbai and changes in opioid policy. However, the vast proportion of Indians still do not have access to pain and palliative care.
The most recent project funding with EHA has come to an end but there remain many opportunities to develop this relationship and training further.