January 22

Winners of the IAHPC Photo Contest 2023

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We have the results of IAHPC’s 2023 Photo Contest! Congratulations to the winners! In all, 75 photos were submitted.

A panel of five board members and officers, convened for that purpose selected the winners after three rounds, which is indicative of how difficult the selection was. Some general comments from the judges included, “This was a challenge, with so many powerful images,” and “This really was a hard choice, all of the photos are full of meaning.”

Thank you to all who participated. Even if your photo was not chosen, it may be used in future IAHPC publications. Photos showing palliative care, taken by palliative caregivers, are a valuable window on the important work that IAHPC members do.

First place:  Abhijit Dam, India
Prize: $300 USD and a 2-year membership extension

Photographer’s description: In Bokaro, India, home-based palliative care for the rural elderly is given in a socially and culturally appropriate manner while a student observer from the United States looks on.

Abhijit Dam, MD, works at KOSISH hospice in Bokaro Steel City, in the Indian state of Jharkhand.

What is favorite part of the job?

Why did you decide to enter the photo contest? 

My mentor in palliative medicine was the late Professor Jaeck Luczack from Poland, who taught me the importance of photo-documentation in palliative care, which could be then used as a teaching-aide, and I have been using the same since. The contest provided an excellent platform to show case the unique situations in which my team and I work.

What message do you hope people will see in this particular photo? 

This photo highlights the importance of culturally appropriate palliation and the need of students to appreciate this very important facet in care provision. It also highlights the principles of good communication. 

Do you already know how you plan to use the prize money? 

I hope to use the money in promoting a culturally appropriate death doula program in India, called Farishtey. We have begun an organization called the International Death Doula Foundation. 

What is your favorite part of the job?

I am the founder director of Kosish, which is the first rural based hospice in India.  I work pro bono, using personal savings for the care. This has been a beautiful and fulfilling spiritual experience for me, and continues to be so and has helped me in “meaning making.”

Second place:  Germanus Natuhwera, Uganda
Prize: $200 USD and a 1-year membership extension

Photographer’s description: A palliative care nurse working with Little Hospice Hoima-Hospice Africa Uganda provides palliative care to a dying patient with advanced cancer of the esophagus at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Germanus Natuhwera is program manager at Little Hospice Hoima.

Why did you enter the photo contest?

The decision to enter the photo contest was to showcase our work from rural midwest Uganda to the world. I am sure that many did not know about us and our amazing work prior to this award, but will now know us. It definitely gives us wider publicity and visibility on a global stage.

What message do you hope people will see in this particular photo? 

This photo was taken at a very difficult time—the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic with total lockdown. We use the home visit model to reach the most vulnerable of our patients: the poor, the very sick/dying, and the elderly who are limited to access palliative care at our outpatient or roadside clinics. During the pandemic, we knew, and our patients and their families would tell us, they needed us more than ever before. So, I expect people will see three key things: first, the need for care continuity; second, the resilience to never give up and to go the extra mile; and third, compassion even in the most difficult times, like the pandemic.

Do you already know how you plan to use the prize money? 

I will donate it to our comfort fund for our neediest patients. At least 80% are poor and struggle and/or sometimes completely fail to meet basic needs such as food, costs of diagnosis and treatment, school fees for their children, transport to access care. The comfort fund, though very small compared to the huge unmet need, helps provide basic needs for group of patients.

What is your favorite part of the job?

I work as both the site programs manager and a palliative care clinician. I am passionate about three key things, patient care, advocacy for palliative care, and research.

Third place: The third place is a tie between two photos: One by Burenjargal Bultuush from Mongolia and the other by Daniela Neumanoová, representing Home Hospice Cesta Domů in Czech Republic
Prize: $100 USD and a 6-month membership extension.

Photo by Burenjargal Bultuush from Mongolia

Photographer’s description: These patients in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, were lovely boys and girls who, now, as adults, deserve to be cared for gently. If someone is caring, they are affectionate, helpful, and sympathetic.

Burengargal Bultuush, MD, works at Naidvar Hospice in Mongolia.

Why did you enter the photo contest?

I wanted to introduce more about hospice generally and also to promote our hospice, which has been operating for more than 20 years. 

What message do you hope people will see in this particular photo? 

I like to show to others the reality of hospice in Mongolia. 

What is your favorite part of the job?

I have been a general doctor and director in Hope Hospice (Naidvar, translated, means Hope) since it started. 

Do you already know how you plan to use the prize money? 

I will use the money to buy supplies and medicine, particularly pain killers, for people who cannot afford them. 

Photo by Daniela Neumannová from Home Hospice Cesta Domů in Czech Republic

Photographer’s description: A hospice patient at home in Prague is visited by a palliative care worker.

Home Hospice Cesta Domu, a lifetime IAHPC member, is a patient care institution with hospital and clinic services in Prague, Czech Republic.

Why did Cesta Domu decide to enter the photo contest?

There is still a lot of misunderstanding about what hospice care entails. As the communications manager at a home hospice, I promote understanding through various communication channels, including visual storytelling. I believe this approach is a powerful way to shed light on different aspects of hospice care, fostering better understanding and awareness.

What message do you aim to convey through this particular photograph?

This image portrays meaningful moments that people can experience thanks to the care offered by family, friends, and the home hospice team in an environment where essential conversations and smiles continue to happen. 

Could you briefly describe favorite aspect of your job?

The most gratifying aspect of my job is sharing the experiences of patients, health care professionals, and social workers, explaining the importance of palliative and hospice care to the public.

Honorable Mention: Mikhail Kapychka, Belarus

The photo below was submitted by Mikhail Kapychka from Belarus. Mr. Kapychaka is not a member and therefore was disqualified from the contest. However, the judges considered the photo an excellent submission and thus it received a Honorable mention.

Photographer’s description: A volunteer helps a boy with cerebral palsy and neurological disease to launch a giant soap bubble. The photo was taken at a charity camp for children of hospice diseases in Mogilev, Belarus.