Thursday, January 25, 2007

New Year 2007

What were you doing this New Year? It is a time to reflect, smile at the good memories, perhaps shed a tear for the sad times, plan for the future and be grateful to God we can see in another year. I was in Kerala with friends David and Joyce Wintour, who made a stop in India after spending several months working in a hospital in rural Uganda. It was lovely to see them and to enjoy a Kerala New Year; young dancers performing an ancient Tamil dance form - bharathanattyam; watching the fisherman pulling in their catch at dawn much as they have done for centuries; sleeping under the stars on the backwaters. What an amazing world and a New Year full of promise! An old poem says; 'I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown' and he replied, 'Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than known way'

Dr Reena and the team are now very busy developing the education programme at CMC. I mentioned before that the hospice and education unit was nearly finished and operational. Well, it will soon be true as our first faculty arrive in 3 hours to stay in the new unit. Hamilton and Ramu are hastily putting the finishing touches! Perhaps the train will be delayed!! It is exciting to see everything come together and my next post will tell you more about Judith and Ismay's visit. A major achievement has been the development of a one year, residential, postgraduate Fellowship in palliative care for doctors. The course is now fully approved and applications are being recieved. Here is the web link to the CMC website. The first students will arrive at the end of March.

What difference will all this make? Let me give you some thoughts. If you are a patient visiting CMC from the north and east of India there are only 3 places you can consistently get oral morphine. You may be travelling up to 800km to get a presciption for your sick relative! Often there is no one you can turn to.You are left without support and without hope. All over India and beyond this despair continues. Only 4 medical schools in India teach undergraduates about pain control and palliative care. So very few have access to palliative care in their communities. However, there are many throughout India who are working to change this situation. At CMC, the palliative care team hopes to train future leaders who can continue to make a difference. It is a privilege for Cairdeas to be a part of this vision. Thank you for supporting us .

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