By Robin Gomes
The Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life on Wednesday began a 2-day international workshop in Rome on “Palliative Care: Everywhere and by Everyone”, in which palliative care experts from around the world, including from other faiths, participated. In fact, “Palliative Care in every region. Palliative Care in every religion or belief,” was the sub-theme of the workshop that concluded on Thursday, 1 March.
Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious or terminal illness, such as cancer, that focusses on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
Among the things that the Vatican workshop discussed were issues such as the contribution of palliative care to medical science, healthcare and society, making palliative care more accessible to patients, the perspective of various religious faiths and spiritual disciplines regarding the care of the dying, and the political and economic implications of palliative care.
Pallium India and CHAI join hands
Among the experts attending the workshop was Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, the founder and chairman of Pallium India, a national registered charitable trust, headquartered in Trivandrum, Kerala state. Pallium India was set up in 2003 to provide quality palliative care and effective pain relief for patients in India. The initiative resulted in palliative care reaching about 40% of the needy in Kerala compared to the national average of less than 1%.
Pallium India and the Catholic Health Association of India (CHAI) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to make palliative care accessible to more patients across India through CHAI’s vast network of over 3500 member institutions.
Xavier Sartre of Vatican News caught up with Dr. Rajagopal during the workshop to know more about this collaboration with CHAI.