From the President’s Desk

Dear friends,

Still the world is in the grip of COVID-19 Pandemic; not repeating the status or causalities here. We are in a mission to help Palliative Care Providers in India to continue their services in this adverse situation. Let us work together to continue our mission. In this Newsletter you can read about our initiatives to tackle the situation as well as about the useful resources for setting up alternative platforms to provide care.

In an effort to address the concerns of Palliative Care Providers in India and to get them expert opinion to overcome the barriers in providing care in the current scenario, an ECHO series was launched by IAPC with the support of Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care and Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration, Canada. The response is overwhelming with the active involvement of more than 70 participants joining in each of the early morning sessions, since the launch of the program, on 2nd April 2020. The session is being organized on every Thursday from 6.30 AM to 7.30 AM. There will be 3 more sessions in the month of May. You can find details of the sessions in this Newsletter. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care, Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration – Canada, and all experts who have joined with us to make this program a success. A range of topics from Virtual Care and Self-care measures to Mental Health Challenges at the time of the Pandemic were discussed in the ECHO series.

The Government of India has published guidelines for health care workers on how to deal with the situation. But till today, no guideline is available for providing Palliative Care during the pandemic. IAPC has constituted a task force to develop guidelines and to bring out a position statement on Palliative Care for Serious COVID-19 patients in India. We are trying to finalize this position statement by the first week of May and it will be published on IAPC website for review.

We know the struggle faced by palliative care providers in India to make care accessible to the needy during this pandemic. We are with you in this effort.

Stay Safe and Stay connected.

Thank you.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar

ECHO Series for Palliative Care Providers

An Initiative by Indian Association of Palliative Care

With the Support of Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care and TWCC Canada

This ECHO series is an initiative by Indian Association of Palliative Care to offer a learning platform for Palliative Care Providers in India to manage the challenging situation caused by COVID-19 pandemic and to adapt suitable strategies to provide Palliative Care.  The series, which started on 2nd April 2020 includes 8 sessions, being organized on every Thursday from 6.30 AM to 7.30 AM.  Experts from related fields led the discussion on different topics in the program held on 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th April 2020. Around 80 participants joined in each session. The remaining 3 sessions will be held on 7th, 14th and 21st of  May 2020. To join please email to

ECHO Session 1

Managing Vulnerable Adult and Children Affected by COVID 19

In this session, the current Indian scenario was discussed by experts to manage patients with Palliative Care Needs. Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, President, IAPC, Dr. Gayatri Palat of HCPC and Dr. Megan Doherty of Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration, Canada, were the speakers.

Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar, Head of the Department, Onco-Anaesthesia and Palliative Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi shared her experience in managing those who are in quarantine or critically ill. “The inadequacy in our preparations for the probable stage 3 community transmission, poor ratio of doctors and beds to patients, lack of Personal Protective Equipment, prevalence of co- morbidities and issues related to testing for COVID are the limitations now we face in our fight against COVID-19” – said Dr. Sushma Bhatnagar. To read the summary and to watch the video of the session, please follow this link

ECHO Session 2

Redesigning Existing Palliative Care Services in COVID Time

By offering the services through “virtual care” which includes tele-consultation, video calls, online prescriptions, and finding alternate ways to provide medicines and other essentials, Palliative Care Providers in India are adapting various methods to meet the needs of those who are under their care amidst the restrictions due to lock down, as well as to overcome the threat of COVID-19 infection. “Strategies to provide Virtual Care” were shared in the second session of echo series. Dr. Tushar Shah,  the founder of the popular Tele-consultation platform and Dr. Lulu Mathews, Program Director, Academics, Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM), Kozhikode shared their experiences and explained how virtual care can be provided effectively. To read the summary and to watch the video of the session, please follow this link

For those who were unable to participate, we have uploaded the recording also.

ECHO Session 3

“Staying Safe in Health Interactions and Health Environment for Palliative Care Providers” – A Rapid Review of Evidence

This session focused on safety measures to be taken by Palliative Care Providers to stay safe. Dr. Naveen Salins, Head of the department, Palliative Medicine, Kasturba Medical College, Mangalore shared a rapid review of evidence based studies. Dr. Manju Sengar of TATA Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Dr. Vivek N of Cipla Palliative Care and Trainining Centre, Pune, and Dr. Reena Sharma of Cansupport, Delhi shared their experiences and explained the protective measures being taken by their organizations to ensure safety of  both health care workers and patients while continuing the services.

The session is available here

ECHO Session 4

Mental Health Challenges in Palliative Care

In this session experts in the field of Mental Health, discussed the mental health challenges caused by the Pandemic. According to them the situation has amplified suffering and lead to unique mental health challenges due to the wide social and economic impact of the Pandemic. Staying connected with health care workers and family members can help reduce anxiety of the patients to a great extent- they suggested. Dr. Gary Rodin, Director, Global Institute of Psychosocial, Palliative and End of Life Care, University of Toronto, Dr. Prabha Chandra, NIMHANS, Bangalore and Dr. Seema Rao of Kasturba Medical College were the speakers. The session was coordinated by Dr. Chitra Venkateswaran. The session is available here

ECHO Session 5

Leveraging our Expertise in Palliative Care to Covid-19 Pandemic

This session is available here

Rapid Assessment on the Preparedness

Of Indian Palliative Care Services to Face COVID-19

A Survey

IAPC is conducting an online survey for rapid assessment on the preparedness of Indian palliative care services to face COVID-19 pandemic. Requesting for your participation.

Please click this link to get the questionnaire.

A ‘Shift’ on the front Line

“I have just finished the night shift in the COVID-19 ward. I look at myself in the mirror. I have a ‘C’ on my nose from the FFP 2(N-95) mask I wear all the time, deep marks on my face left by the elastic bands, my eyes tired, my hair damp with sweat…”

Read a first person account by a doctor on ‘life in a COVID Ward’ in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Palliative care for advanced cancer patients

In the COVID-19 pandemic

Challenges and adaptations

You can read this  paper  by  Dr. Pankaj Singhai,  Dr. Krithika S Rao, Dr. Seema Rajesh Rao, and Dr. Naveen Salins of Department of Palliative Medicine and Supportive Care, Kasturba Medical College Manipal, in Cancer Research, Statistics and Treatment.

The key role of palliative care

In response to the COVID-19 tsunami of suffering

Read the paper published in The Lancet.

How to provide care during the pandemic?

Strategies and Challenges adapted by Palliative Care Providers in India

A series on the Struggle and Challenges faced by Palliative Care Service Providers, Patients and Carers during this COVID-19 Pandemic is being published on IAPC Website. We hope that this platform to share experience of service providers is helpful for all those working in the same field.

How Team Karunashraya Provides Service? – writes Dr. Babita Varkey. Read the full article here

Providing Virtual Care during the Pandemic: Dr. Biju Raghavan of Rajagiri Hospital, Kerala shares the experience of his team here

With strict Guidelines, PC Unit at TMC Mumbai offers Service to the Needy – Read the full article here

MOHF guidelines

The latest guidelines on COVID-19 are available here

For more resources on Palliative Care and COVID-19, please follow this link:

Cast your vote and select a Tool

An initiative to make palliative care more accessible by National Cancer Grid with the Support of Indian Association of Palliative Care

An initiative to make palliative care more accessible by National Cancer Grid with the Support of Indian Association of Palliative Care.

A tool to assess Serious Health Related Suffering (SHS) is being developed as a preliminary screening tool to use in Health Care Settings in India where serious health related suffering is highly prevalent and often invisible. SHS causes patients to drop-out of treatment and needless distress, when the system fails to detect and address the suffering. The objective of this tool is to

  • Identify health related suffering and help patient access appropriate care.
  •  Identify patients who can benefit from Palliative Care
  •  To provide an objective base for  to appropriate care

This can be used in any Health Care Setting outside of Palliative Care.

Here you can find three versions of the tool, formulated in the initial round. Do vote for the most appropriate version. The version which gets more than half of the votes will undergo field testing before implementation.

Please follow this link to read the three versions and cast your vote, the whole process will take less than 2 minutes:

Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care

Candidates can now apply for the June- 2020 session of Certificate Course in Essentials of Palliative Care- a distance learning program of two months duration which includes  16 hours of contact session and a final evaluation.

Eligibility: MBBS/BDS or GNM/BSc Nursing

Course fee: Rs. 3500 for Doctors and Rs. 2200 for Nurses.

The course is delivered through various centres in India. For application form and brochure, please write to

The course will begin in June 2020 (If the lockdown continues, the course also will get postponed. If the course has to be postponed, the modified date will be communicated to applicants)

Last date to apply for June batch: 20th May 2020.

Commonwealth Scholarships

Last date extended

Scholarship is available for candidates applying for MSC in Palliative Care offered by Cardiff University.

TimelineOriginal DateNew Date
Deadline 1 – Application submissions13th April, 20204th May, 2020
Deadline 2 – References4th May, 202022nd May, 2020
Deadline 3 – University Nominati22nd May, 202012th June, 2020

For details, please follow this link

Apply Now for National Fellowship

In Palliative Medicine/Nursing

National Fellowship in Palliative Medicine/Nursing is a one year distance learning program conducted by Institute of Palliative Medicine (WHO Collaboration Centre for Community Participation in Palliative Care and Long Term Care), Kozhikode with CMAI Delhi.


NFPN: BSc Nursing/GNM

Course fee

NFPM: INR; 40,000
NFPN: INR: 20,000

Course Design: There will be a mandatory initial theory session of 10 days duration, which will be held in September 2020 at Institute of Palliative Medicine, Kozhikode, Kerala, India, followed by online assignments, Clinical Audit, and clinical postings at two recognized Palliative Care Training Centres in India (duration of each posting: 10days) and a final evaluation which will be held by September 2021.

For application form and prospectus, please email to

Last date to submit application: 31st July 2020


Helping Bereaved Families Land on Their Feet

Here is a featured story published by IAHPC on the Efforts of Cansupport to help bereaved families land on their feet.  Ms. Harmala Gupta, Founder and President of Cansupport writes about the rehabilitation program of Cansupport to help destitute patients and their care givers.

Read it here

For donations to IAPC and for further information write to

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