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Tamil Nadu government to start palliative care units in state

Tamil Nadu government to start palliative care units in state

Chennai: The state governments of Tamil Nadu will set up palliative care units in different districts. A palliative unit is a special care which takes care of people of all ages, in reducing their pain.

The State Health Department has recently announced that palliative care will be offered at all the government hospitals. Inadequate palliative care has led to the miserable condition of the people who are suffering from life threatening diseases.

Palliative care units help in reducing the pain and aiding through physical and psychological problems for all age groups. World Health Organization (WHO) has brought up a global solution to this problem.
WHO will improve the access to palliative care as a specific part of national health systems, with home based primary health care, a report by NDTV suggests.

Dr Suresh, director, WHO collaborating centre said: “A policy was formulated for palliative care in the country about five years ago, but no provisions have been made under the policy as there was no fund allocation. Training of staff and doctors is a very important factor of palliative care, but owing to lack of funds it could not be implemented properly.”

He further said only 0.72 people receive palliative care on an average among the population of one million, who are suffering. Therefore, states should initiate independent programmes and policies on palliative care.

In Kerala, palliative care is conducted by volunteers from the local community, who are trained to identify such problems and help the individual. Attempts of the health department in Tamil Nadu to launch a state policy have been made only on paper.

Preetha Mahesh, secretary, Chennai Pain and Palliative care said: “Palliative care is needed to address practical needs and provide counseling for people suffering from various diseases prevalent in the State such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic liver disease, respiratory diseases, AIDS, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis, neurological disease, dementia, congenital anomalies and tuberculosis.”

She also said that a community-based primary health care system using local manpower, adequate funds and resources are necessary for the implementation of policy on palliative care.

When the health department was contacted officials said the process is underway. “The state is initially planning to start palliative care services in 11 districts, where palliative care will be offered after training of doctors and staff. The policy will be initiated after the programme is extended to other districts after its implementation in listed districts,” the official said.

Psychiatrist Dr Vivian Kapil said: “Children suffering from illnesses that range from HIV to cancer are deprived of palliative care and a distinct methodology has to be followed for their palliative care. There is no universal method to track paediatric palliative care that worsens the situation and only one per cent children receive palliative care.”