Visakhapatnam: A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Pallium India (Trust), India and Sneha Sandhya – Age Care Foundation (ACF) to advocate and promote access to palliative care and controlled medicines for pain relief in Andhra Pradesh has been signed…
Informing this here on Tuesday, ACF Managing Trustee Dr. N S Raju said that while the necessary funding and guidance would be provided by Pallium India, the ACF would implement the project at the ground level by conducting meetings and workshops for bringing awareness and imparting training, spread across all the 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh.
He said there could be no better person than Prof. D Raghunadha Rao,Director, Tata Cancer Research Centre and Hospital in Visakhapatnam, to guide and lead ACF in this effort. “He was the first medical oncologist in the state of Andhra Pradesh, and has the needed expertise, experience and most importantly, the heart to lead this project on behalf of ACF.
The ACF was delighted that Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, Father of Palliative care in India and Chairman of Pallium India, a national registered charitable trust focused on those in need of pain relief and palliative care, was here personally to attend the fifth anniversary of ACF and sign the MoU during the weekend. Dr. Rajagopal’s advocacy had contributed to amendment of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of India in 2014 and its implementation – a critical step in reducing needless suffering and allowing millions to access pain relief. He was also the prime mover in the creation of the National Programme for Palliative Care (NPPC) by the Ministry of Health of Government of India, Dr. Raju said.
India has been ranked 67th out of 80 countries on the 2015 Quality of Death Index, lower than South Africa (34), Brazil (42), Russia (48), Indonesia (53) and Sri Lanka (65) but above China (71). Less than one per cent of India’s population has access to pain relief and palliative care, according to Dr. Rajagopal, who is also Director of the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Policy and Training on Access to Pain relief.
“ We have our work cut out for us, to make palliative care accessible to all those who need such services in the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is a herculean task, but we will do our bit to create awareness among doctors, social workers, general public and most importantly policy makers,” Dr. Raju said.