sr crescentia award 2014 with sophi and sarah

Australasian Palliative Link International (APLI) was founded at the Hospice Care in Asia conference, Singapore, in 1996. Its objectives are:

  • to develop and foster links between palliative care providers and organisations in Australia and New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region
  • to raise awareness of the needs of new palliative care services and the need for further development of the discipline in the region.
  • to provide a forum for the exchange of information and ideas between providers of palliative care in the region.

Particular links have developed over the past 15 years with Indian Palliative Care colleagues. Members have been involved in teaching health professionals in Malaysia, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and fostering the development of Palliative Care in Timor Leste.

Our activities are largely centred on assisting with palliative care capacity building in the Asia Pacific region, such as sponsorships of volunteers, observership opportunities for new palliative care doctors and nurses, and sharing resources.

Palliative care workshop signFeb2015



Project Focus

As some of you may be aware, in early 2016 the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) held four ‘APHN Dialogs’, in which clinicians across the Asia Pacific region could link in through Skype to attend a webinar. The following webinars took place:

- A discussion of palliative care service development in the Asia Pacific region, presented by Odette Spruyt
- Pain control in palliative care by Yoshiyuki Kizawa from Kobe, Japan
- Management of the cancer wound by Edward Poon from Singapore
- Bereavement care by Jun-Hua Lee from Taiwan

These sessions were well received and provided a valuable opportunity for clinicians in different countries to learn from an expert in that field and also to share their own professional experiences. Unfortunately, not all countries in the region have reliable internet coverage or sufficient bandwidth so some attendees were unable to join the meetings. In response to this, in recent months APLI has been looking at a new educational initiative in partnership with APHN.

Project Focus aims to set up online discussion groups between palliative care clinicians in specific countries in the Asia Pacific region and APLI mentors. Some nascent palliative care centres struggle with isolation, limited practitioner experience and variable institutional support. In effect, Project Focus would work towards similar objectives to Project Hamrahi: to improve the capacity for best practice patient care in the local setting and to reduce the isolation of palliative care providers in emergent services.

APLI is therefore calling for expressions of interest for mentors to volunteer their services to help support our regional partners. Project Focus would particularly suit clinicians who might otherwise find it difficult to travel overseas for mentoring work, as the contact will be online using a small group discussion format on the ‘Slack’ communication platform. APHN has already identified local clinicians in two separate services in remote and regional Indonesia who would like to be partnered with APLI mentors. In addition to this, there has also been some interest from doctors in Vietnam, Brunei and Nepal whose learning needs were unable to be supported by the APHN Dialogs.

Although the exact process will be flexible, it is proposed that education would begin with case presentations from the local APHN clinicians. These would then serve as a springboard for the APLI mentors to explain current evidence based practice recommendations. The subsequent discussion would then take into account local factors such as medication availability, local resources, staffing and other factors such that a viable and culturally appropriate management plan can be formulated.

I hope that you will share our excitement for this initiative. Project Hamrahi has demonstrated the value of teams of mentors made up of both doctors and nurses working together with local Indian clinicians over a sustained period of time. Project Focus has the potential to broaden the scope of such partnerships to other countries and so I invite you to contact me via chairman@apli.net.au with a short biography and reflection on why you would wish to work as a mentor.

- Anil Tandon

Cachar Cancer Hospital appeal

Dear APLI Members

Most of you will be aware that fellow members have been visiting Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC), Assam, for several years. The hospital is run by a NGO doing great work in an area of desperate need. The hospital provides cancer care to about 4000 new and 10,000 follow-up patients each year, and the numbers are rising. Patients come from the Barak Valley area surrounding the hospital, but also from much further afield, including neighbouring states. Home care is difficult due to the poor condition of the roads. The patients are almost all very poor, many working for a pittance in the local tea plantations. People with cancers present late here, due to a potent combination of low health literacy and the well justified fear of financial ruin. This makes cure rare, and comfort care the first priority. The hospital responded to this by employing a palliative care physician – Dr Iqbal – and strongly supporting him and many nurses in travelling to obtain palliative care skills. This was the reason the hospital was suggested to us by Pallium India as a place to visit and support.

CCHRC has a full range of specialists, and patients are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The hospital now has a dedicated area for intensive care, and a capable pathologist.  Since the first of three visits four years ago and with the support of international and local donors, the hospital has continued to build, and now has two more storeys, with extended ward beds to 100, an intensive care unit and a staff and visitor living area. It has clinics in two distant locations for the patients who can’t travel.

Much of the energy for all this has come from the Medical Director, Dr Ravi Kannan. He gave up a prosperous practice in Chennai many years ago to work at Cachar, and has inspired all the other staff to work towards the aim of improving the lot of the local people. Recently severe storms have damaged the hospital and cost much money in diesel fuel as the city was without power for weeks. You can see more of this and some photographs on their Facebook Page (Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre).

So I’m writing to ask that you consider making a donation to APLI, which is now a tax-exempt organisation, meaning you can tax-deduct any gift, to help recovery from the damage. I’ve never been surer that the money will be put to the best use, as our previous donations have always been applied so faithfully.

With hope, and sincerely

David Brumley



Your donations to APLI help in the following ways:

assist with training of doctors and nurses in palliative care practice in developing nations

support nurses to travel and teach as part of Project Hamrahi

help with purchase of critical site resources such as essential equipment and supplies,  medicines and educational materials