UJJAIN, Madhya Pradesh — The Binaytara Foundation, an international cancer health nonprofit based in Washington State, established the first home hospice and palliative care training center in February in Madhya Pradesh, India, a state of 73 million.
The training center fills an important need in the region, where hospice and palliative care is virtually nonexistent. It will serve as a free training hub for nurses and physicians, who can then expand those services throughout the region.
Hospice and palliative care refers to treatment focused on pain relief and comfort, with hospice care used for terminal patients and palliative care for seriously ill patients. With such limited access to healthcare in the state, these services are of vital importance, said Binaytara Foundation President Dr. Binay Shah.
“We believe that every human has a right to this type of care,” Dr. Shah said. “This training center will allow more and more patients to gain access to hospice and palliative care as physicians and nurses start expanding their own programs throughout the country.”
The Binaytara Foundation provided monetary support and training to establish the center. In January, it flew Idaho nurses Connie Alexander and Valerie Loftin to Madhya Pradesh to train a group of nine local sisters, a British term for nurses. After four weeks of training, the sisters graduated to become master instructors at the center.
Alexander and Loftin each spent two weeks in Madhya Pradesh. They trained the sisters on a number of key concepts, including pain management, anxiety, nausea, and end-of-life symptoms. Each day would start in a classroom and end with sisters providing care to palliative care patients suffering from cancer.
“We saw great results with those patients when they first started the program while I was there,” Alexander said. “There was a great improvement in pain control. Education was also a large piece. The sisters provided education to patients and their families on properly taking medication.”
Added Loftin, “Many people in the area are in need of this type of care and are forgotten. End-of-life symptom management is a must for cancer patients. Keeping the patient comfortable and managing symptoms to ensure they have the highest quality life as long as they live is our goal.”
Now that the center has a core group of master trainers, hospice and palliative care programs can begin to spread throughout the region. The master trainers will train 50 sisters within the first month, said center Director Dr. C.M. Tripathi.
“We are thankful for the support of the Binaytara Foundation in helping establish the state’s first hospice and palliative care training center,” Dr. Tripathi said. “Without its help, this project would not have been possible.”
This project completes a major milestone for the Binaytara Foundation, which has a goal of spreading hospice and palliative care to all 51 districts of Madhya Pradesh. Districts are similar to U.S. counties. With the training center established, Dr. Shah aims to complete the goal within two years.
Along with India, the Binaytara Foundation is also establishing the first home hospice and palliative care services in Nepal. It has established one program in Janakupur, a city with a population of about 200,000, with more to come.
Over the next few years, the Binaytara Foundation also hopes to establish a state-of-the-art public cancer center in Nepal. The country is in desperate need of the center, with cancer care inaccessible to the vast majority of its people.
The cancer center will be a multi-million-dollar project. The foundation is currently seeking additional funding to move forward.
Binaytara Foundation (BTF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. BTF’s charitable projects include, but are not limited to, a bone marrow transplant center, international hospice programs, cancer conferences for healthcare providers and patients, and research grants in resource-poor communities. For more information on BTF projects, visit binayfoundation.org.