BMJ India launches Course in Palliative Care


Providing quality care to patients suffering from life threatening conditions is very important. In India, and other developing countries, the accessibility to palliative care services is quite low, and people receive palliative treatment quite late in their continuum of their disease-related suffering.


The World Health Organisation defines Palliative Care as “an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual.”1

Just 2% of people have access to palliative care in India as per a report in The Hindu2. It is estimated that around 5.4 million people a year in India need palliative care. Access to quality palliative care becomes critical in the light of rising incidence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and other debilitating illnesses. There are around 1000 palliative care units in India, which cater to only a small segment of those in need, thereby highlighting the gap between provision and need of care3.

Palliative care involves a multidisciplinary team including the palliative medicine and primary care physicians, nursing staff, social workers, care-givers, counsellors, dieticians and volunteers.  There are many challenges in the provision of quality palliative care to such patients, such as, workforce development at base level, adequate training of healthcare staff and so on4. Systematic and continuous education of the healthcare workforce is imperative to ensure that high quality care, comprising of adequate physical and psycho-social support, is provided to end-of-life patients.

Recognizing the urgent need of addressing the gaps in provision and access to care in this area, BMJ India is delighted to announce the upcoming launch of the Three Months Certification Course in Palliative Care . The course is supported by the Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation. The course will enable learners to understand and apply the principles of palliative care in chronic and life-limiting illnesses, help them to identify the palliative care needs of the patients, assess and manage pain and other physical symptoms amongst many more important areas. The course is delivered online and has been developed by national and international experts. It is expected to be launched in September 2019 when the first batch of the course will commence.

The Course Director, Dr. Naveen Salins [Professor and Head of the Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, Karnataka, Coordinator, Manipal Comprehensive Cancer Care Centre, Kasturba Medical College, Karnataka] said “We are pleased to be associated with BMJ in starting a certification program in palliative care that is at par with any international certificate courses. Skills and knowledge in palliative care among health care professionals will go a long way in mitigation of pain and suffering among people with chronic and life limiting illnesses.”

“We, at NSF believe in building unrestricted capacity amongst healthcare professionals, stepping beyond conventional modes. This course on Palliative Care addresses the need of the hour and provides seamless accessibility to quality medical education." Said Dr. Monique Kamat, CEO, Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation.

Prashant Mishra, Managing Director, BMJ India & South Asia said “BMJ has always contributed positively to areas where there is a perceived healthcare gap – we have been doing so in the area of diabetes, chronic kidney disease and now palliative care – through the launch of education courses. We firmly believe that these courses are essential in helping doctors and healthcare professionals acquire skills to provide quality palliative care to their patients. We are hopeful healthcare professionals will enrol in this course and undertake this opportunity to further build their skills.”

Press ReleaseVivek desai