From the President’s Desk

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar

Dear Friends,

March was hectic, but inspiring as well. Brilliant academic sessions, flavors of togetherness, selfless hard work, and new initiatives, not only made March special but also imparted momentum to the Palliative Care movement in the country. At the end of the day, one felt both proud and motivated. All the events went well and we enjoyed it!

IAPCON 2021, the first ever virtual Annual Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care turned out to be a unique experience for the faculty and delegates with enriching academic sessions. It was ‘a near to real’ experience, a culmination of hard work and team spirit. A big applause to the organizers!

On behalf of IAPC, I would like to extend my congratulations to all the team members who worked towards making IAPCON 2021 successful. I would like to also thank AIIMS Patna, Indira Gandhi Institue of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), and Mahavir Cancer Sansthan for offering the very vital support needed for the conference. I also appreciate and acknowledge the untiring efforts of Dr. Umesh Badani as Organising Secretary, Dr. Chandini Sinha as Chairperson of the Scientific Committee, and Dr. Rita Rani from Mahavir Cancer Sansthan and Dr. Richa Madhavi from IGIMS for leading the various pre-conference workshops successfully. I wish to also acknowledge the contributions of Dr. Naveen Salins, for his inputs towards designing a good scientific program made in consultation with the scientific committee.

A virtual conference would only be successful with cutting edge technology; and Alpcord Network Event & Conference Management Co ensured that this was done diligently. Congratulations! We are also grateful to the various sponsors of IAPCON 2021, who supported us; especially the major contributors, the Cipla Foundation, Troikaa, Modi Mundi Pharma, Rusan Healthcare and Verve.

Congratulations to the enthusiastic participants and winners of the various competitions. Congratulations Dr. Amarpreet Kaur, Dr Sapna Mathew, and Dr. Rabiya, for winning the first 3 prizes in the paper presentation category. Congratulations Dr. Raghav Gupta, Dr. Sowmya Susan and Dr. Pratik Kumar Singh, for securing the first 3 prizes on the Quiz competition. Congratulations Dr. Wasim Hoda and Dr. Umesh Badani for being awarded the first and second place in the art competition.

Please visit the ehospice India Edition ( to access the detailed and day wise reports of IAPCON 2021.

The very next day post IAPCON 2021, we moved on to conduct a two-day workshop to train 51 Zonal Medical Officers from the state of Madhya Pradesh (MP), at the request of State Government of Madhya Pradesh. Enclosed in this newsletter, are the details of the program.

We had some very interesting, insightful and thought provoking sessions during this month’s IAPC Academy Lectures. Eminent International Faculty, Dr. Robert Twycross and Dr. Frank D. Ferris joined us along with our expert National Faculty Dr. Geeta Joshi, Dr. Priti Sanghavi, and Dr. Spandana Rayala to deliver the IAPC Academy’s online lecture series. Thank you all, for being with us and helping to fulfill the need for specialized training for MD students in Palliative Care. Video recordings of all these lectures will be available on the IAPC website shortly.

Congratulations to Ms. Ashla Rani, Mr. Suresh T. P., and Dr. Stanley C. Macadan, the winners of the prestigious ‘International Award for Excellence 2021’ by Cancer Aid Society.

I wish to also share some very exciting news from The Government of India! The National Health Systems Resource Center (NHSRC), the technical support institute with the National Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, organized a Training of Trainers session for Medical Officers from 30th March to 3rd April, 2021, to facilitate the implementation of the National Program for Palliative Care (NPPC). It is heartwarming to see the progress towards the development and integration of palliative care within our county’s health system, a much needed step in ensuring Universal Health Coverage. IAPC extends it’s wholehearted support for this program.

I look forward to meeting you all in person in February 2022, at IAPCON 2022 at Jaipur, the Pink City of India. The conference dates will be announced shortly.

Thank you all!

With warm regards.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar
President, IAPC

‘All that begins well, ends well’

The story of IAPCON 2021

Amid cheers, applause and much fanfare from the faculty and delegates, the three day virtual International Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPCON) concluded, carving a milestone in the history of IAPC. The virtual conference was born to showcase resilience in the trying and challenging times imposed by COVID19. The conference concluded successfully without any glitches, and had over 400 delegates and faculty from 20 countries participating in it. The virtual conference presented delegates with a unique experience as it created an incredible leaning opportunity through brilliant scientific sessions, which would have otherwise been postponed indefinitely.

IAPCON 2021, was organized by the Department of Anesthesiology, AIIMS Patna, from Friday, 19th to Suinday, 21st March, 2021. The organizers received a prodigious support from two other renowned health care institutions in Patna; The Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and the Mahavir Cancer Sansthan.

The conference organisers were mindful of the limitations of a virtual conference, and thereby designed a hybrid model to make it interactive. The pre-conference workshops, the inaugural ceremony, the infotainment session and the valedictory ceremony were conducted physically, along with an option for faculty and delegates to also participate virtually. All physical events except for a few pre-conference workshops were held at the conference venue, AIIMS, Patna. The virtual platform hosted the scientific sessions, the quiz competition, the art competition, the poster exhibition and the free paper presentations. The scientific sessions were held on all three days between 4 and 8 p.m., and the preconference workshops were organized from 18th to 21st March between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

“I had the confidence that Dr. Umesh Badani and his team could successfully achieve this, and they have proved it” said Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, President, IAPC, full of pride, during the valedictory function of IAPCON2021. Dr. Bhatnagar congratulated the organizing team and the scientific committee led by Dr. Chandni Sinha, for their hard work towards making the virtual conference a huge success. Dr. Bhatnagar also congratulated Dr. Rita Rani and Dr. Richa Madhavi for efficiently coordinating the pre-conference workshops.

Dr. Badani shared that “My team and I were apprehensive, as there was no role model kind of thing for us to fall back on. So we were anxious…. but we did it. We strived to make the scientific sessions innovative, informative and research oriented, while also providing a balance between education and enjoyment.”

Indeed, it was a proud moment for the organizing team to have designed and delivered a successful conference despite the challenges imposed by the COVID19 pandemic. Heartiest Congratulations to the organizing team!

Details of IAPCON2021 can be found here: Day 1   Day2   Day 3

Please click on the blow links to read our detailed report of IAPCON 2021.

Day 1: 19th March, 2021: IAPCON 2021: A Successful Virtual Conference
Day 2: 20th March, 2021: Enriching Scientific Sessions, a dash of competitiveness, and a riveting infotainment segment… Day 2 of IAPCON 2021
Day 3: 21st March, 2021: ‘All that begins well, ends well’ – the story of IAPCON 2021

Jaipur, the Pink City of India, will be hosting IAPCON 2022

It was announced during the valedictory function of IAPCON 2021, that the 29th International Conference of the Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPCON 2022) would be a physical conference at Jaipur, the Pink City of India. Dr Anjum Joad from Bhagwan Mahaveer Cancer Hospital & Research Centre, Jaipur, will be the organizing secretary for the upcoming conference. The exact dates of the conference will be intimated shortly.

Virtual vs In-person Conference

The reality of our times

– By Dr. Seema Rao

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to move on to a virtual world and every organization is discovering the joys of connecting in the digital space. As more and more events getting shifted to virtual platforms, the question arises, which platform is better?” writes Dr. Seema Rao on e-hospice India Edition. Please click on this link to continue reading the article.

Dr. Seema Rao

The Government of India continues to take active steps to implement the NPPC

We are thrilled to report that the Government of India continues its initiatives towards facilitating the implementation of the National Program for Palliative Care (NPPC). In line with this, The National Health Systems Resource Center (NHSRC), the technical support institute with the National Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India, organized a National level Training of Trainers session for Medical Officers between 30th March and 3rd April, 2021. Effective implementation of the NPPC is a critical step towards the development and integration of palliative care within our county’s public health system. We anticipate that this program is only the first of the series of similar activities that are expected to unfurl in the near future!

IAPC sensitizes all District Zonal Officers from Govt. of Madhya Pradesh

The Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC) conducted a 2 day (22/23 March 2021) virtual teaching and sensitization workshop on palliative care for 51 of Madhya Pradesh’s District Zonal officers. The District Zonal Officers are those doctors who are in charge of the various government sponsored district hospitals spread across the state. This sensitization workshop was conducted to empower and facilitate doctors to integrate palliative care services into their state public health system. Please follow this link to read our report.

NCG releases draft Palliative Care guidelines 2020

Action needed! NCG invites your feedback and comments for the draft Palliative Care guidelines

The National Cancer Grid (NCG), has issued the draft palliative care clinical practice guidelines on their website and invites you to review the same and share feedback. Please click on Palliative Care draft guidelines 2020 to view the guidelines.

You can provide either general feedback and/or feedback specific to each guideline with evidence to support the changes proposed. Your comments and suggestions can be shared until 24th April, 2021 through a link provided in the same webpage. The draft will then undergo due review process.

World Kidney Day, 11th March

The recently concluded IAPCON 2021, brought to the forefront the immediate need for palliative care to be integrated during Renal care. The second edition of the Global Atlas of Palliative care, mentions that 53% of those living with renal failure over the age of 70 need palliative care. We bring to you two very interesting and insightful articles to highlight this very critical need.

‘Living Well with Kidney Disease’: Is it a goal or a dream for children with chronic kidney disease?

– Dr. Dharshan Rangaswamy

Globally, the second Thursday of March, is recognized as World Kidney Day, with an aim towards increasing the awareness on kidney health. This year’s campaigns centred around “Kidney Health for Everyone, Everywhere: Living Well with Kidney Disease”. The focus is to educate, encourage and self-empower patients with chronic kidney diseases (CKD) to participate in meaningful activities of life. The emphasis is to improve the patients’ health-related quality of life by effective symptom-management furthering increased life-participation.

Registry data from the developed world indicates children with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) on dialysis constitute around 1.5% of total dialysis population with a 5-year mortality rate of 11% in them. In India, an estimated two-third of all patients with ESKD died without receiving dialysis in 2010. This proportion can be even higher among paediatric ESKD cohort due to the limited availability of paediatric dialysis services available in India.

In this context, Dr. Dharshan Rangaswamy, Head for Division of Paediatric Nephrology; Associate Professor, Department of Nephrology, Kasturba Hospital and Medical College, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India, writes about availability and accessibility of pediatric palliative care services to children living with kidney diseases in India.

Is it a goal or dream of Children with Kidney diseases in India to live well? Read the article Here

Renal support care in India – A story

– Dr. Nandini Vallath

This article briefly relates the serendipitous story of renal supportive care in India’ – writes Dr. Nandini Vallath while recollecting the arduous journey to initiate the much needed renal palliative care service in India.

‘India hosts a high burden of patients with chronic kidney disease, and it is estimated that 90% of them remain undetected and may die without accessing any kind of care. In patients with renal failure, dialysis is a valuable symptom management strategy while the patient awaits transplant, the disease modifying intervention. A 2002 study followed up 10,000 patients on dialysis. They observed that 40% of these patients had arrived for the first time to a healthcare service when they required emergency dialysis. They also noted that 60% of patients where lost to follow up.’

Another study in 2018, studied 13,140 patients on dialysis, and only 2% of them eventually had a kidney transplantation. 64% of patients discontinued dialysis and 17% died while still on dialysis. These numbers underscore the tremendous need for renal supportive care in the country; and not to forget the 90% who never ever reached the healthcare facilities.’

Read the article Here

World Social Work Day: 16th March, 2021

The World Social Work day is a day, especially ear marked in a year, to celebrate social workers across the globe to appreciate and acknowledgetheir crucial and phenomenal contribution to mankind. The International Federation of Social Workers ( declared ‘Ubuntu: I am Because We Are’ as the theme for 2021 as it highlights the role of a social worker in creating the interconnectedness that exist between people and their environments. It is also the first theme of the 2020 to 2030 Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development.

Social workers hold a pivotal role in palliative care teams as they usually provide the vital link between the clinical teams, the society and the patient and their families.

We present to you below, the thoughts, experiences and stories shared by two of our very own social workers.

The Interconnectedness of Life and Death

– Ms. Aneka Paul

As we celebrated World Social Work Day 2021, I reflected on what it meant to be a Social Worker in the Palliative Care sector in India. At first glance, dealing with death and dying on a daily basis may seem like a depressing job involving equally morose people. But upon entering this field, I realized that folks here are the ones who have actually understood what it means to live to the fullest, with zest! Palliative Care Workers are constantly learning – their teachers being the seriously-ill patients and families they care for.

Ms. Aneka Paul, Social Worker and Trustee, Golden Butterflies, Chennai, shares her thoughts on this occasion as the world celebrates ‘Social Work Day’. Please click here to catch a few glimpses of her thoughts.

Gautam’s last wish!

– Ms. Renuka Ananth

Ms. Renuka Ananth, Social Worker, Karunashraya, Bengaluru, shares a page from her everyday diary to narrate her experience and interactions as she enabled Gautam (patient) and his mother navigate several difficult decisions so that Gautam’s last wish could be fulfilled. She also touches upon how a social worker can make a difference in people’s life. Please click here to read her story.

IAPC Academy

Online Lecture Series:

Every Monday between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

The academic sessions in March 2021, were rich with eminent international and national faculty from the field of Palliative Care. The March series began with one of India’s senior faculty, Dr. Geeta Joshi and was followed by another senior faculty, Dr. Priti Sanghavi. Both speakers broadly dealt with the practical aspects of setting up a palliative care service. Dr. Joshi’s session dealt with the practical aspects of setting up a hospice / standalone community palliative care service, whereas Dr. Sanghavi’s session shed light on the nuances of setting up a palliative care department in a teaching hospital.

Dr. Twycross
Dr. Robert Twycross

Our next session was delivered by Dr. Robert Twycross, the living legend from the field of palliative care. March 2021, is special in Dr. Twycross’s journey as he commemorates the Golden Jubilee of his service in palliative care. The opportunity to participate in the session by Dr. Twycross on ‘Palliative Care What, Who, When, How’ was equally exciting and overwhelming for both India’s young practitioners of palliative medicine and our senior members.

The palliative care community continued to be excited and enthralled over the following week as well, as Dr. Frank D. Ferris, a renowned palliative care expert and faculty from the USA delivered a lecture the following week on ‘Balancing use of opioids in Cancer pain management’.

Dr. Frank D. Ferris

The concluding session for March was delivered by none other than Dr. Spandana Rayala. Dr. Rayala presented a very passion filled session that kept the audience riveted as she presented on the ‘Practical Aspects of setting up a Paediatric Palliative Care service in a Cancer Care setting‘. Video recording of the session is available Here

Upcoming sessions for April, 2021.

Recordings of all these sessions will be available on the IAPC website.

Compassionate bereavement approaches:

Educational series by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation

The Elisabeth Kübler-Ross Foundation launches their next education series, ‘Compassionate Bereavement Approaches’ featuring world-renowned speakers. The speakers will be presenting on various EOL topics and also provide attendees with an opportunity interact and engage with them.

This online series will take place each Thursday between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time-US) from 18th March to 27th May, 2021. The Fee for the series is: USD 85.00.

Please visit to access further information on the series.

International Award for ‘Excellence in Palliative Care’

IAPC extends their heartiest congratulations, to Ms. Ashla Rani, Mr. Suresh T. P. and Dr. Stanley Macaden. We wish you further laurels! Details are available Here

IAHPC Scholarships

The last date to submit applications is on Wednesday, 30th June, 2021.

The International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) has announced 10 scholarships to support participation of its members in the following online events:

Please find the details Here

Book of the Month

Clinical Psycho-oncology: Indian Perspectives and Research

This book on clinical psycho oncology by Dr. Santosh K. Chaturvedi, an eminent psycho-oncologist, provides resource material on psycho-oncology from an Indian perspective and includes Indian research and literature. Find out More

Movie of the Month

Care Giver: A Love Story

On March 26, 2021 the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care (IAHPC) hosted a virtual screening of the new film Caregiver: A Love Story, followed by an interactive discussion with Dr. Jessica Zitter, palliative care doctor, author, producer and director.

Ms. Harmala Gupta, from India, an advocate for cancer patients and an IAHPC Board member, and Dr. Katherine Pettus, IAHPC Advocacy Officer participated in the event as panelists.

The film Caregiver: A Love Story documents the journey of 60-year-old Bambi Fass, and her caregiver husband. The film portrays how after four years of unsuccessful cancer treatment, she decides to focus on maximizing her quality of life.

Members who were unable to participate in the live screening and discussion can view the recording of the film until 2nd April, 2021 by contacting Genevieve Napier, IAHPC Programs Officer.

Please click here if you wish to join the screening.

Upcoming Global Events

Join colleagues around the world by registering for two IAHPC hosted United Nations Side Events:

  1. 11th Open Ended Working Group on Ageing United Nations Global Palliative Care Needs of Older Adults in the Pandemic. Click here to register for the event.
  2. 64th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs Procurement, Pricing, and Access to Controlled Medicines During COVID-19. Click here to register for the event.

Worth Reading

  1. The pandemic not only highlighted the critical need for every health care worker to be sensitized to the various elements of palliative care, it also provided these front line workers with several “first” experiences. The article, ‘When doctors stood witness to confessions of dying men’ published in the Times of India (Hyderabad edition, 2nd March 2021) brings to the forefront, the heart wrenching experience that doctors from one of Hyderabad’s nodal healthcare facility, had to face as they listened to the innumerable dying COVID-19 patients confessions of their last wishes, disappointments and fear. While we sympathize with these doctors, we also hope that this unique experience in itself, sensitized them for the need to be trained in basic palliative care. Click here to read the entire article.
  2. The next article we present to you, was featured in the February edition of the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care website. The article ‘Promoting Resilience & Preventing Burnout: One size does not fit all’ offers to empower palliative care providers and administrators with various practical strategies to alleviate stress, prevent burnout and build resilience within teams and organizations, as they try to overcome the challenges of increased prevalences in death and isolation. Click here to read this very interesting article.
  3. On some positive and promising news, on 16th March 2021, the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Bill, 2020 was passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Bill aims to regulate and standardize the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals in India, a much awaited exercise to streamline our health care sector. Click here to read more about this development.

ehospice re-launches their weekly newsletter!

ehospice is pleased to announce that they will be re-launching their weekly newsletter from Wednesday, 7th April, 2021. The weekly newsletter aims to keep you updated with leading stories from around the world. Please click on the link to register and subscribe for the newsletter.

We invite you to share your stories for publication in the ehospice India Edition. Please email your stories to either or

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