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Myanmar visit

Author: Grace Buchanan
05 May 2014

The opportunity to visit U Hla Tun hospice Yangoon and Mandalay was a unique experience for Dr Meg Sands and Grace Buchanan for one week last November. This article is a recount of their experience.

The invitation from Mr David O. Abel, Brigadier General and hospice Chairman was extended after his delegation’s visit to Australia in May 2013. This visit was made possible by Mr Abel, the generosity of Mr Clive Triplett and the support of Australian Palliative Link International (APLI).


The aim of the visit was to continue the dialogue following on from the delegation’s visit to Australia earlier in 2013, in order to exchange views and ideas on various issues in palliative care treatment and training. The visit echoed the sentiments of the November APLI Forum Sharing knowledge, establishing relationship.


Education, training, and mentoring opportunities in the Myanmar hospices with emphasis on symptom management at the end of life were identified as a focus for present and future collaboration. Within Yangoon, palliative care education courses have commenced which are being delivered by the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) over a series of modules. Two of the cancer hospice staff are attending.


We are looking at ways to ensure that any ongoing support and education enhances and reinforces these modules. The philosophy of the cancer hopices in Myanmar is to care for the poorest of the poor in the community in an inpatient setting. We were privileged to be invited to meet the staff in both sites and have the opportunity to meet some of the patients and their families. The kindness and generosity of everyone that we met was humbling.


The hospice's motto Our duty is to care, care is to share is a lived experience for all staff within the multidisciplinary team that delivers care at both sites. The hospices are non-government run companies funded by the initial donation of the founder and are administered by the two boards and the executive staff. From this visit the team members of the hospice have outlined that further opportunity to develop and deliver education in the areas of pain assessment and management were a priority. We are now looking at ways that we can develop the possibility of offering further training and support in collaboration with APHN and the hospice executive.


The experiences, hospitality, and education that we received on our visit have impressed on us that palliative care is practiced by many with the same goal of client centred care.


This article is one of a series that will be published on ehospice Australia from the Australasian Palliative Link International (APLI).


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