After a great IAPC conference in Mumbai I joined Indian and UK colleagues in Delhi. We were supporting the annual foundation course in palliative care run jointly by Cansupport and IRCH (International Rotary Cancer Hospital). Cansupport, which started with one base led by Harmala Gupta and Ruth Wooldridge, was also marking it's 10th anniversary. There are now 4 bases across Delhi providing much needed support for patients and their families at home. They also have a number of information initiatives - including a telephone helpline. There is a great team which includes trained nurses, doctors, psychologists and an army of volunteers. IRCH and AIMS led by Dr Sushma Bhatnagar have also seen progress this year with the opening of a small palliative care ward. It was such a privilege to teach the enthusiastic participants including a day for volunteers. There were twice the expected numbers which was encouraging and challenging! We managed a Sunday afternoon stroll among the ancient tombs of the Lodhi gardens in Delhi - here are some of the Faculty (Sue Varvel, Harmala Gupta, me, Ruth Wooldridge and Liz Minton with Michael behind the camera) Sue is now in Sierra Leone and we wish her well.
I also took the opportunity to visit my friends at ASHA. You might remember my last BLOG post from there. It is an inspirational project that seeks to 'provide support, education and healthcare for these people, giving them the motivation and abilities to make lasting changes to their lives.' ASHA supports healthcare, community empowerment and environment change and covers 250,000 people in the slum colonies of Delhi. Remember there are 4 million in these slums who are facing the daily grind of poverty and illness!!!! As recently as 2006 a slum was summarily demolished to make room for the planned athletes village for the Commonwealth games. Libby (a friend and young doctor from the UK who is doing a year's palliative care research in Calicut) came with me on a visit to Chandepuri slum. We saw first hand the incredible success of the community empowerment programme and met some of the inspirational women and children who lead the developments. Here is a healthy child - a real tribute to the programme. We are planning to help ASHA look at the palliative care needs later in the year.