Grantee details

Traveling Scholarships Program Report

Arunangshu Ghoshal, MD

Travel date: May 18, 2016

Name of Meeting/Event/Activity: 2nd ICPCN Conference: Children\'s Palliative Care

Origin: Mumbai, India / Destination: Buenos Aires, Argentina


How was this meeting/activity helpful to you?

First of all, I would like to thank IAHPC for giving me the opportunity to attend the Conference and supporting me with a travel grant. The conference comprised both scientific and educational tracks prepared by an international scientific committee. There was a strong emphasis on state of the art science, including a call for abstracts, and the current standard of care across pediatric palliative care. Interactive sessions were dedicated to the latest Clinical Practice Guidelines and there were opportunities for delegates to interact with international experts from the region and the wider palliative care community. The conference was very interesting and gave the opportunity to learn many issues in regards to supportive and palliative care in pediatrics. As a representative of my department, it was a very enriching experience for me to attend the conference. It was an ideal platform for displaying my work because it was an international forum, consisting of researchers, education scientists, technologists and industry representatives who are experts in pediatric palliative care. Also, this forum acts as a strategic think tank to enhance a constructive dialogue and collaboration on relevant themes and to present the latest research results in all areas. In addition, the conference experienced many groundbreaking researches being discussed and new guidelines being formulated. My poster session was attended by many academic researchers and experts. The conference included many national and international participants and speakers from all over the world. It provided me with a valuable learning experience. For instance, it was an excellent opportunity to gather together, interact and exchange their findings and views during conference sessions, coffee breaks and conference lunch areas. Consequently, I have known a number of academics and professionals from different countries who have similar research interests. This conference was very interesting and enriched me with more information, knowledge and confidence. Something in the way I think about palliative care has changed since I came back from the conference. It was a cocktail of medical and psycho-socio-spiritual issues and more. It was spending 4 days in close confines with inspirational people who were dedicating their lives to ensuring as many people as possible experience the care that they need. The passion and empathy of so many of the delegates from around the world touched me in a way that I didn’t necessarily expect it would. On the second evening of the conference there was a diner reception. As I was standing watching delegates dance, joke and chatter, I thought to myself that it felt just like a family reunion. There was a tacit acknowledgment that everyone understood, at least on some level, why everyone else was there. Just like a family is bound by the bond of blood so at this conference it felt like there was an unspoken bond in the knowledge of, and passion for children’s palliative care.

How will you new knowledge & acquired skills help in furthering your work in hospice and palliative care in your program/city/ or country?

The scenario of children\'s palliative care in India is a lot worse compared to its western contemporaries. There is lack of acknowledgment both among professionals and laymen and limited outreach, and it lags light years behind other broad specialties. Population explosion, raising incidence of cancer and other chronic ailments, absence of licensing facilities, fragmented scarce efforts, lack of certified training institutions and universally adhered education curriculum, limited access to opioids and other essential drugs, corporate indifference and last but not the least the government palliative care policy going into oblivion are some of the factors launching a multi‑pronged attack by increasing the demand and halting the supply. There are no well-equipped children’s hospice or long term care facilities in India. For me, with my core training in Palliative Medicine, this scholarship provided a great opportunity to learn about the different models of care in Palliative Medicine as practiced in developed countries. The conference through its many sessions touched on the fundamentals of pediatric palliative care, taught about communication in serious illness, ways to manage challenges in palliative care education, development and promotion of clinical and educational programs in palliative care and development of strategies to manage pain and other symptoms and sources of suffering. It offered intensive learning experiences for physician and nurse educators who wish to become expert in the clinical practice and teaching of comprehensive, interdisciplinary palliative care, as well as gain expertise in leading and managing improvements in palliative care education and practice at their own institutions. As an educator early in his career, it was a privilege for me to be able to accomplish these principles and skills through the conference. This will help me adopt these in Indian setup and improve the scenario in my country. This will be of immense benefit to the development and progress of this specialty in India.

How IAHPC Traveling Scholarship be improved in order to help other future traveling scholars?

Many colleagues of mine from developing countries want to attend international conferences but could not do so due to shortage of funds. I have met so many of them and have suggested to apply for IAHPC scholarships. But rarely have they been successful. I consider myself fortunate to get funding from IAHPC and would like to request IAHPC to dispense more funds for those professionals who are striving hard to maintain excellence in resource limited set ups. We can partner with IAHPC in securing donations from organizations and individuals if approached for and invite suggestions to help the organization in ways that we can.

Narrative summary highlighting the needs and challanges you face

I got the opportunity to attend the 2ND ICPCN CONFERENCE: CHILDREN’S PALLIATIVE CARE – NOW! at Buenos Aires, Argentina from May 18th - 21st 2016 through IAHPC Traveling Scholarship funds. I am a palliative care physician working full time at Tata Memorial Center, India The concept of pediatric palliative care is new in India. A small percentage of children suffering from chronic lime limiting illness in India have access to quality palliative care services. In majority of cases there are hardly any focus on symptom control when disease modifying therapy ceases with poor or no symptom relief during EOL phase. There is lack of acknowledgment both among professionals and laymen. Other factors like population explosion, raising incidence of cancer and other chronic ailments, absence of licensing facilities, fragmented scarce efforts, lack of certified training institutions, limited access to opioids and other essential drugs, corporate indifference and weak governmental palliative care policies are some of the factors adding to it. There are no well-equipped children’s hospice or long term care facilities in India. This ICPCN conference comprised of both scientific and educational tracks prepared by an international scientific committee. There was a strong emphasis on the contemporary science and art of children’s palliative care. Interactive sessions were dedicated to the latest Clinical Practice Guidelines and there were opportunities for delegates to interact with international experts from the region and the wider palliative care community. It was an ideal international platform for displaying my work. The conference also experienced many groundbreaking researches being discussed and new guidelines being formulated. It was an excellent opportunity to gather together, interact and exchange peer findings and views during conference sessions and coffee breaks. Consequently, I have known a number of academics and professionals from different countries who have similar research interests. The scholarship provided a great opportunity to learn about the different models of care in Pediatric Palliative Medicine as practiced in developed countries. The conference through its many sessions touched on the fundamentals of pediatric palliative care, taught about communication in serious illness, challenges in palliative care education and development of strategies to manage pain, other symptoms and sources of suffering. As an educator early in his career, it was a privilege for me to be able to learn these principles and skills through the conference. This will help me adopt these in Indian setup and improve the scenario in my country. This will be of immense benefit to the development and progress of this specialty in India. Also when I reflect back, I find that something in the way I think about palliative care has changed since I came back from the conference. It was a cocktail of medical and psycho-socio-spiritual issues and more. It was spending 4 days in close confines with inspirational people who were dedicating their lives to ensuring as many people as possible experience the care that they need. The passion and empathy of so many of the delegates from around the world touched me in a way that I didn’t necessarily expect it would. On the second evening of the conference there was a diner reception. I met Dr. Alina Conti Wuiloud from Argentina. She is a pediatrician with a fellowship on pediatric palliative care from Hospital Nacional Prof. A. Posadas in Buenos Aires - Argentina. I had met her in India in 2012 when she travelled on an IAHPC travel scholarship. Her warm hospitality throughout is worth mentioning. It was just like a family reunion. There was a tacit acknowledgment that everyone understood, at least on some level, why everyone else was there. Just like a family is bound by the bond of blood so at this conference it felt like there was an unspoken bond in the knowledge of, and passion for children’s palliative care.


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