Travel date: September 17, 2017
Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 5th International Public Health & Palliative Care Conference
Origin: Dhaka, Bangladesh / Destination: Ottawa, Canada
Main objective of attending the conference from an institutional background was to understand the very basic issues of the public health and public health approach of palliative care particularly in the context of Universal Health Coverage. As the Quality of Life and Quality of Death differs so much from place to place and so is the palliative care I wanted to convince myself that a public health approaches to palliative care is the only roadmap to achieve universal palliative care coverage in resource constrained countries. I was also willing to know the Golden Criterions of this so widely used term in so many idioms and phrases of Palliative care literatures. ! I was also carrying with me my oral presentation of our experiences of initiating a community based pc program in the largest slum of my country, Bangladesh which has very recently upgraded into the list of LMIC. I also wanted to compare & contrast, to recheck and validate that the pathways we are following are not a very wrong ones, if not very standard compared to pathways followed by affluent countries.
Answering of this part of the report is truly most difficult and will express a mixed feeling, I am afraid! Undoubtedly listening to plenaries and the many western authorities gave me a better understanding of the basic issues though quite a part of it possibly addressed the theoretical aspect of public health & was difficult for me to appreciate due to my own lack of understanding. What particularly enlightened me the different examples of initiatives, amazing experiences from resource constraint countries. For example- experience from Zimbabwe, New Zeland and Rwanda where heart touching, encouraging and issues of lifelong learning. The workshop on paediatric palliative care before the main conference was particularly very well organized & well-articulated..Unfortunately these experiences from LMIC countries were so few and so very widely scattered in different venues running during the same time that when you attend one, you are sure to miss another. Besides the plenaries, all of these oral presentations turned into small group discussions and were of so small duration that none of these probably could have been attended by a larger group audience. Interestingly and somewhat embarrassingly, in most of these short oral presentations, there was no one even to introduce the speaker or even a panel to discuss. I witness this not only in my own session but also in the session of Blaise Uhagaze and Christian Ntizimira whose deliberations could provoke new thoughts & Ideas. Though it was an international public health conference most of the attention and protocols moved around deliberation from developed countries which could be discouraging if not offending to the developing community pc programs. However, no doubt we tried to develop our own way of communication and my particular fantastic experience was meeting old friends like Libby Salnow, Beverly Sebestian and Christian Ntizimira and learning from their experiences.IT will not be out of place to mention that the second international publice health conference of Palliative Care was organized in Dhaka, Bangladesh which the orginisers most possibly forgot to mention in their website even. Libby Salnow was there at that time to give us a hand in organizing that. How wonderful it would be if there could be a one day full sessions focusing pc in LMICs and MICs where most of the pc patients on the globe reside & where challenges are different.
I personally recommend that instead of financial award it would be so nice if 1) Economy class ticket in the cheapest airline and a very basic accommodation for all the scholars in one venue could be arranged. It would be a fantastic experience if an extra day of mini workshop could be arranged where exchanging experiences and ideas amongst the scholars would probably serve the main purpose of IAHPC travelling scholarship award, 2) A local or IAHPC coordinator to co-ordinate/ facilitate this particular mini workshop would have been an added value with minimum extra financial involvement. However, I take this opportunity to thank IAHPC for this much support without which it would not that easy even for a senior member from a LMIC country to attend the conference.
I take this opportunity to mention the article which very coincidentally was published in the European Journal of Palliative Care (EJPC) just few days before of this conference. This publication “Palliative care for slum population: a case from Bangladesh (http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/144475/). Interestingly is the elaboration of the abstract for which I was given a 20 minutes slot and was attended by only a handful of people. So what I have learned that initiatives from resource poor countries must also be associated with more and more research initiative and more and more evidenced based articles to be heard by global readers. Thanking You.