Odette Spruyt

Project:IGIMS, Patna

I am a palliative care physician working at PeterMacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

While training in palliative medicine  in the UK, I heard Jan Stjernswald talk about the first Indian Association of Palliative Medicine conference to be held in Varanasi in 1994.  I was inspired to attend the conference. That was the first of many for me, for several years, with several conferences combined with extended visits for teaching, mentoring, and just getting to know the colleagues in India. Also in the UK, I met Joseph O’Neill, another palliative medicine trainee, who set up British Aid for Hospices Abroad. This was the inspiration for Australasian Palliative Link International (APLI), which I established in 1996.

As for motivations, for me, it probably goes back to my childhood and the encouragement we always had to consider those less fortunate and to provide help where possible. Something about India in particular connects with me, something hard to define or explain. I think my first visit was so intense and the exposure to ‘the life force” there was mindblowing, and made my own culture seem so lacklustre at that time.

At times, I wonder what I can offer of any use when daily realities are so different. The warmth of friendships and the ongoing desire of many Indian colleagues for contact and support have encouraged me to continue.

Intensive course students, Drs Anjum Joad and Odette Spruyt

Intensive course students, Drs Anjum Joad and Odette Spruyt


Hippocratic film applauded across Australia

Hippocratic Film Header

With only one city remaining in the Australian launch of the biographical documentary, Hippocratic, it is clear that the film has had great impact here.

One important feature has been the opportunity for Q&A after the movie, where audience members have a chance to delve deeper into the issues raised in the film, such as trying to understand the distressing ongoing shortage of morphine, an essential medication in pain management, a shortage that affects over 80% of the world’s population.

This issue alone should galvanise us to action, to demand change and accountability. However, long time advocates in this field know only too well how difficult it is to bring about change and improvements here.

Films such as Hippocratic are too few and APLI thanks Moonshine Movies for their commitment to contributing to change in a creative and positive way.


Donate to APLI online : BSB 063 806; Acct 10160981

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