ACCF Observes World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

  • Assam Cancer Care Foundation joins the world-wide endeavor of providing palliative care to the people of Assam

Guwahati, October 12, 2020: The World Hospice & Palliative Care Day is observed on October 10 every year as a unified day of action to observe and support hospice and palliative care around the world. Assam Cancer Care Foundation has also joined in this world-wide endeavor and aims to provide relief of suffering to those in need through its functional palliative care units in medical colleges of Assam namely, State Cancer Institute (Guwahati), Assam Medical College (Dibrugarh), and Jorhat Medical College (Jorhat). The theme of this year's celebration is 'My care, My comfort' which signifies an individual's right to complete physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing - irrespective of his or her disease and its stage. Assam Cancer Care Foundation endorses this theme and will continue to reach out to the needy people through their network of social workers and patient care navigators.

A cancer survivor stated – "I am an ovarian cancer patient and during chemotherapy cycles different types of side effects occurred for which I was introduced to Palliative Care Department of State Cancer Institute at Guwahati for supportive treatment. Since then my health has improved and I am glad that I could walk again. Earlier I weighed 36 Kgs and today I am 60 Kgs. I am very grateful to the Doctors and Nurses for their support."

Palliative care encompasses the care process of a person suffering from illness like advanced cancer, end stage organ diseases (kidneys, liver, heart), paralysis etc. The sole objective of palliative care is improving the overall quality of life. Care is provided through an interdisciplinary team of trained professionals comprising of trained physicians and nurses, social workers, and spiritual care providers.

Lack of access to palliative care is a major problem worldwide. Several studies have shown that every year forty million people need palliative care, twenty million at the end of life, yet only about three million are able to access the care they need. As a consequence, millions of people die with pain and suffering that can be avoided with adequate treatment. Limited access to pain medications, lack of palliative care trained health professionals, weak national level policies on palliative care are few important areas to be addressed to improve accessibility to this form of care.

With many world-renowned organizations like the World Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance, International Association of Hospice & Palliative Care, and country specific organizations coming together and promoting palliative care through their work, this has now been recognized as part of the continuum of Universal Health Coverage under the newly adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (prevention-promotion-treatment-rehabilitation-palliation). Palliative care is a human right and is part of the obligation of governments to provide access to health facilities, goods and services, and essential medicines, through a public health strategy.

ACCF Palliative care Doctors, Dr Sanghamitra Bora , Dr Tanma Mahanta and Dr Deepankar Dakua in a joint statement informed that that more rigorous efforts are being planned to reach out to maximum such patients in the community and provide them medical and psychosocial comfort.