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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A large demand for Palliative Care in India.

"Fragile india, handled with care. Is the country doing enough for its elderly, dying and homeless? Shreevatsa Nevatia meets the providers and recipients of care to find out.

..."Unlike much of the West, where the social services are now an accepted interventionist tool and where carers are a professionalised workforce unto themselves, the issues surrounding care, more specifically care-givers in India, are little known." 

..."Sandip P Purab, JASS’ secretary, says, “We started with wanting to care for those who were in desperate need of life support. We find people on the streets, bathe them, take them to a hospital, and rehabilitate them.” Working on the street, adds Purab, is not that easy a task. “You don’t get that much support from the police and you get no support from the people.”

..."A need for a greater strengthening of care in the palliative sector was also reiterated at the Tata Memorial Centre, where associate professor Dr Manjiri Dighe works in the Department of Palliative Medicine. According to her, “There is a large demand coming from the families of patients who are dying, and from doctors like oncologists. But have a look at the number of specialised physicians in the state. There are maybe 10 or 15, just these small islands of care. And that is far from optimal. Far from what you’d get to see in places like the UK.”

..."After all this time, she says, “You stop believing in God when you begin to realise that the blight isn’t cancer, it’s poverty.” Questions of faith often surface at the Bhakti Vedanta hospital, where Dr Vineeta Sharma has been part of the Department of Palliative Care since 2008. Though the hospital was formed and runs on the principles of the Krishna-worshipping ISCKON community, religiosity is never an essential component of care, informs Dr Sharma. She says, “It is patient-oriented. There are those who don’t want to talk about God. Then there are those who do."


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