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Anil Tandon

Project:

Jamshedpur

Bio:

I am an Australian born Indian, and have travelled to India more than a dozen times to visit relatives. I have never lived nor practiced medicine in India. My Hindi is of a very basic standard only.

I have worked as Palliative Care Physician since 2001. On two occasions I have worked as a locum physician in the UK for 6 months: Wales in 2001 and Scotland in 2007.My current clinical positions are in a consultative service in a tertiary hospital and as a visiting physician to the Kimberley (which is a sparsely populated remote region in the north west of Australia with a large Aboriginal population

Living a life of comfort in a wealthy country makes it challenging to go visit family in India and see what is missing in health care (let alone other aspects of day to day life).

Adding on top of that what seems to be a lack of understanding of the importance of pain relief, difficulties in accessing analgesics etc in my home state makes me question how I can help, if at all. The incredible focus on IV fluids, high cost medicines, chemotherapy etc when death appears close (even to the untrained observer) is just the icing on the cake.

Rosalie(Shaw) has been gently encouraging me to help palliative care services in the developing world in a practical way for some time now, but mainly due to the ties of a young family in Perth, I haven’t thought seriously about going to India at a professional level until now. Now that the kids are a little bit older, maybe 2010 will be the start.

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

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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