Palliative care remains conspicuously absent from government programmes at present, especially at the primary health care level.

 

On 10 October 2020, CanSupport and NewsX celebrated World Hospice and Palliative Care Day by organizing a mega live event “GIVE-a-THON” on NewsX. The show witnessed participation of eminent speakers from Ministers of Health, doctors, to practitioners of palliative care and celebrities from the Hindi film Industry.

CanSupport Give-a-Thon was an occasion to amass voices for the need of palliative care policy especially in the states of India where it is not present. So far only the state of Kerala has a policy on palliative care and the programme highlighted the gap that needs to be filled in other states that lack such policies.

The programme was hosted by Rishabh Gulati, Managing Editor of NewsX. Introduced as “No ordinary NGO”, the give-a thon began with an AV “Day in the life of CanSupport” was premiered that showcased the work done by CanSupport in the field of palliative care, highlighting the need of palliative care for people who are suffering from terminal illness such as cancer. CanSupport is providing a service that fills a gaping hole in public health provision.

Palliative care remains conspicuously absent from government programmes at present, especially at the primary health care level. The need to include palliative care in the health prograame was advocated by eminent speakers. Below are the excerpts from the interviews as they voiced the need for Palliative Care.

* “Palliative care is similar to service of the God. Delhi government strives to contribute indispensably in this service.” Dr Satyendra Jain, Delhi Health Minister.

* “India has given its strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Healthcare coverage by 2030. There is a convergence of India’s national goal and agenda of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’ with the SDG… I would like to congratulate CanSupport for doing a great work in the palliative care and I wish them all the success in their endevaours. Together with all our partners, we can contribute towards moving ahead on the SDGs.” Dr Roderico Ofrin, WHO Representative to India.

* “At AIIMS, we have been able to provide the medical support to the patients, but when it comes to palliative care which is home-based, CanSupport has really helped us in improving the quality of life of the patients.” Dr Randeep Guleria, Director,AIIMS

* “Oncology and palliative care intermingle from day 1.” Dr Nitesh Rohatgi, Assoc Dir., Max Super Speciality Hospitals

* “Palliative care focuses on bettering quality of life for the patient and their family.” Dr Bhawna Sirohi, Consultant Medical Oncologist

* “I am impressed by their care, love and the relief of suffering.” Dr Katherine Pettus, Hospice Volunteer, Author & Advocate

* “When you treat a patient, the whole family is impacted.”Mohini Daljeet Singh, Trustee & Advisor, Max India Foundation

* “We have become very good in treating cancer with newer drugs, robotics and radio therapy. But, palliative care is something that needs to be more talked about. I think what CanSupport is doing is some really fantastic work in providing home-based palliative care which is really helpful for the patients.” Dr Bhawna Sirohi, Oncologist, Apollo Proton Cancer Centre

* “We need to think of Cancer as a fundamental health problem in India and support organizations like Cansupport.” Dr Dwaipayan Banerjee, Associate Professor, Science, Technology & Society, MIT

* “Nurses are at the heart of this, they must be valued by doctors, social workers and the government.” Ruth Wooldrige, Chair Of Trustees, Palliative Care Works, UK

The Programme was also organised to garner support and raise funds for CanSupport’s free of charge services. The famous Shillong Chamber of choirs dedicated their three renditions to the work of CanSupport namely:

* The Wind Beneath My Wings medley was dedicated to CanSupport’s free home based palliative services. The services are aimed at supporting patients by managing their pain and providing counselling and emotional support to help reconcile psychosocial and spiritual pains or help find ways of coping at the comfort of their home.

* Sar Jo Tera Chakraya medley—a fun song was dedicated to CanSupport Day Care where children, teenagers and adults along with their caregivers are provided a safe and comforting space to focus solely on their personal well-being. In the Day Care centres patients and caregiver spend a day filled with positive, life affirming activities such as art, craft, dance, storytelling, music, personality and skill development including alternative healing practices such as yoga, meditation, visualization and music therapy.

* Ye Dosti medley was dedicated to CanSupport’s mission to keep working towards a caring and supportive society where people with cancer and their families live with dignity, hope and comfort.

Several celebrities from Bollywood industry voiced their appeal to support the work of CanSupport through donation or volunteering. Here are some of the excerpts from their appeal:

* The team at CanSupport has been extremely helpful to my family. They have guided us at every step and it really means a lot. I applaud their humanitarian work.” Dr Madan Gopal Singh, Singer-Composer

* “I’d like to salute the doctors, nurses and counsellors who work for CanSupport to bring physical, emotional and spiritual comfort to cancer patients.” Ehsaan, Music Director

* “It is a lovely initiative that NewsX and Can Support have put together, at a time like this a helping hand would make the family happy.” Saqib Saleem, Actor

* “Contribute whatever you can, every drop creates an ocean.”  Shweta Basu Prasad, Actor

* “Everyone out there, listening, please donate to this great initiative.” Akshay Oberoi, Actor

* “CanSupport team are bearers of hope in the midst of despair.” Loy, Music Director

* “A time has come where we need to support organizations like this.” Shankar Mahadevan, Singer

* “We must support the organization in comforting cancer patients and their families.” Ravindra Upadhyay, Singer

During the programme there was a special launch of a Hindi Palliative Care Booklet which was introduced by Rajni B. Arora, CanSupport Volunteer. She thanked Agilent Technologies for supporting the printing of the book along with the creators. On the occasion Agilent announced their extension of partnership with CanSupport which was a big moral boost for team CanSupport.

On the occasion, Bharat Bhardwaj, Country General Manager, Agilent India, said, “At Agilent we do everything possible to improve the quality of research and diagnostics’ capabilities…and I want to say thank you to CanSupport for walking that extra mile. We feel privileged to be part of this initiative and would continue to support this noble cause.”

The programme concluded with Harmala Gupta, Founder-President, CanSupport thanking eminent speakers and Agilent Technologies for the support and giving palliative care a much-needed boost. She concluded her speech with a quote by Jim Dwyer, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, who died of complications from lung cancer, In his last column for the Times, about the pandemic, he wrote: “In times to come, when we are all gone, people not yet born will walk in the sunshine of their own days because of what women and men did at this hour to feed the sick, to heal and to comfort.”

In the end, we believe that people with cancer and their families deserve the highest quality of care and that everyone has the right to live life to the full, especially when their illness may no longer be curable. Since our primary focus is on the underserved, all our services are free. We need your support to continue to fund our services. Please donate generously.

You can reach us at our cancer care helpline 011-41010539/9899011212 or log on to www.cansupport.org to know more about our work, refer a patient and make your donation online. For donation you may also call our donor relationship team at +91-9315905193