Sok-Hui Goh




I was born in Singapore and grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, until my teenage years. I came over to Australia to pursue my tertiary education, where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Melbourne before moving to Adelaide to study Medicine.

After my internship, I started Physician’s training, however this was interrupted by the arrival of 3 children – they were so keen to pick us! I decided to shelf my training and my husband, a surgeon, and I went to work in a mission run hospital in Niger, West Africa. Our family moved there for 3 years and returned to Adelaide at the end of 1995 for our children’s education.

In Niger, I did part-time work to help out, depending on the number of doctors available, wrote the Medical Protocol for the hospital, and did some teaching for national health care workers and expat nurses who felt called to work there. We saw the start of the HIV/AIDS spread in West Africa and were also involved in the meningitis outbreak then.

Since our return to Australia, we have gone back several times to work in Africa in short stints and our hearts are very much in the countries with poor resources.

At present, I am doing a mixture of General Medicine, Consultant at the Acute Referral Unit at the Repatriation General Hospital and Palliative Care at the Adelaide Cancer Centre. I have worked in most of the Public Palliative Care Services since I embarked on this pathway since 2000. I have also been involved in teaching medical students, mentoring physician trainees and supervising Interns who come through our Unit.

It was through Odette’s presentation at the conference that I was challenged and encouraged to offer my service and also to learn how a mentoring collaboration could be established, perhaps in Africa!

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


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