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International Update on Pain Management and Palliative Care Advances held in India

Author: Dr Mayank Gupta, Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical and Health Sciences, Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital
14 July 2016

After a great deal of preparation and organisation, the last weekend of June saw the first pain and palliative care conference in Uttarakhand. This was deemed a historical event, proving that palliative care has now been recognised as an important aspect of healthcare in the region.

The event: 'International Update on Pain Management and Palliative Care Advances 2016' was organised by the Shri Guru Ram Rai Institute of Medical and Health Sciences (SGRRIM&HS) and the Indian Medical Association (Dehradun). 

The landmark conference was conceptualised by Dr Mayank Gupta (organising secretary), Assistant Professor and leader of the Pain and Palliative Care Unit at the Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital.

The didactic scientific programme as designed by Dr Gupta emphasised not only the basic principles but also the recent advances in the field of pain and palliative medicine for the benefit of both the nursing and medical students as well as the doctors from the diverse field of medicine who participated in this conference.

Dr Pankaj Arora (Organising Chairperson), Dr J P Sharma (President, IMA Dehradun), Dr Lalit Kumar Varshney (Joint Secretary) and Dr Mohit Goyal (Hony Secretary, IMA Dehradun) and the whole team of the SGRRIM&HS worked diligently to make this conference a historical one.

The conference was inaugurated by the Shri Harish Singh Rawat ji, honorable Chief Minister of the state of Uttarakhand who emphasised the need for palliative care to improve the quality of life of those suffering from chronic life limiting illnesses.

The organising team were delighted with the support that other well recognised palliative care physicians from around India provided, including Dr M R Rajagopal (Kerela), Dr Sushma Bhatnagar (New Delhi), Dr Aditi Chaturvedi (Ganga Prem Hospice, Uttarakhand), Dr Anjum Khan Joad (Rajasthan), Dr Ann Thyle (Delhi), Dr Sunil Saini (Uttarakhand), Dr A K Dewan (Delhi), Dr Nandini Vallath (Kerela), Dr R P Ghedoo (Mumbai) and Dr Savita Butola.

Eminent faculty and pioneers from the UK and USA who participated in this conference were Dr Brenda Ward (UK), Dr Abir Doger (UK) AND Dana Pierreti (USA).

The conference started on Saturday 25 June with an opioid workshop to emphasise upon the recent amendments pertaining to availability of essential controlled medications in India.

Mr Satya Narayana Dash, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Revenue, Government of India, was the chief guest at the event.

The aim of the workshop was to answer questions and concerns pertaining to opioid prescribing and availability from the attendees.

An opioid workshop booklet highlighting the current need and availability of essential narcotic drugs compiled by Dr Mayank Gupta was released and presented to all the delegates and faculty. The audience was reminded of poignant facts by palliative care physicians Dr Sushma Bhatnagar and Dr MR Rajagopal.

The conference was attended by more than 250 delegates from both India and abroad. The conference was multipronged in its approach in that it served as the continuing medical education for the palliative care physicians, sensitisation for the allied health care professionals, as well as an excellent educational opportunity for the undergraduate and postgraduate medical and nursing students.

As a token of appreciation, books (An Indian Primer of Palliative Care) authored by Dr M R Rajagopal were presented to the outstanding medical students who participated in this conference to further their interest in palliative care.

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