Staff Reporter

A forum will launch an initiative seeking a unit of palliative medicine at the MCH in the city.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Trivandrum Initiative in Palliative Care (TIPC), an association of various organisations working in the field of palliative care is launching a popular movement demanding that the Health Department start a unit of Palliative Medicine at the Medical College hospital here.

TIPC pointed out that even though the State emerged as a model for the rest of the country, by being the first State to formulate a Palliative Care Policy in 2008 April, the government has done little to implement the initiatives it had declared in the policy.

A prime declaration was that palliative medicine clinics would be opened in all Government Medical Colleges. This was followed by another circular, which said that palliative care would be integrated into primary health care and that primary health centres would be equipped with palliative clinics.

NGO’s move

However, despite a proposal submitted by Pallium India, a national-level NGO in the forefront of palliative care movement, to start a palliative care unit for free at the Community Medicine department at Medical College here, the government has done nothing, TIPC president K. Vijayakumaran Nair, said .

Pallium India’s proposal has been awaiting government approval since 2008 May.

The MCH Principal and the Director of Medical Education too had given their concurrence for the same and written to the government, yet nothing came of it, he alleged.

Last year, chairman of Pallium India M.R. Rajagopal had pointed out that there was a real need to start an in-house palliative care unit at Medical College as poor patients might not be aware of such a care and would not go in search of it. So, it would have to be offered to them as part of the treatment. Dr. Rajagopal had offered to open clinics in three major government hospitals in the district, wherever hospital administrations were willing.

Only in RCC

None of the government hospitals in the capital city, with the exception of RCC, have palliative care units. The unit at RCC caters only to cancer patients undergoing treatment at RCC.

Only less than half of those who require palliative care are cancer patients while the majority are people suffering from various debilitating ailments, Mr. Vijayakumaran Nair said.

With the Kerala chapter of the Indian Association of Palliative Care observing January 15 as the State Palliative Care Day, TIPC has decided to use the occasion to reiterate the demand for launching a palliative care clinic at Medical College hospital.

TIPC will organise a popular assembly in front of the Secretariat on Friday, raising this demand.