Every year close to a million Indians with fatal illnesses like cancer die in unnecessary pain because of a lack of palliative care. [Source]
For many Indian families caring for loved ones who are dying, paying for pain relief and other medicine can lead to crippling debt. And those loved ones often become isolated, because the stigma associated with wasting illness means they may be shut off from society, bedridden at home until they die.
EMMS believes that everyone deserves the chance to end their life with dignity and comfort. That's why in India and other parts of the world, our Christian healthcare partners work to provide pain relief, medical care and practical, emotional, social and spiritual support to those with incurable illnesses.
To address the huge public health issue of the lack of palliative care in India, where less than 1% of those needing palliative care, in the 1.2 billion population have access to this essential end-of-life support, [Source] EMMS recently co-sponsored a meeting and dinner at the prestigious IAPCON (Indian Association of Palliative Care Conference), in partnership with the Indian Association of Palliative Care and the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance.
The conference was an opportunity for EMMS and two of its partners – the Emmanuel Health Association and the International Nepal Fellowship - to explore best practice, partnership working and current research on palliative care in India, in the light of the World Health Assembly resolution call for improved access to these key health services. EMMS was represented by our Director of International Programmes, Cathy Ratcliff.
Several pieces of research funded by EMMS were presented at the IAPCON conference, including an India-wide assessment of palliative care needs by Stephen Connor of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance; and a study of how this care is given to dying patients in emergency situations, presented by Dan Munday of International Nepal Fellowship. Some of our more area-specific research was also explored at the event - a report on how three hospitals in Uttar Pradesh are working to reduce the impact that poverty has on the experiences of dying patients, presented by Ann Thyle from the Emmanuel Health Association; and an evaluation of care for the terminally ill in five of our hospitals across North India, presented by Dan Munday.
Watch this space as we will be promoting these important research reports here on the website shortly.