Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care
More than half of palliative care needs worldwide resides in Asia, with annual estimates of 24 million people in need of services. Nearly 11 million die within the year. Many of them have no access to even basic pain medicines or trained doctors and nurses, let alone services such as psycho-social counselling or social work and spiritual support at the end of life.
Since 2013, the Lien Collaborative has been helping build palliative care capacity in low and middle-income South and Southeast Asian countries by training doctors, nurses and social workers, opening much-needed palliative care services in government hospitals and increasing the availability of pain medicines. A key aim is to transfer skills and knowledge through the use of expert volunteer faculty. More than 55 volunteer faculty members - doctors, nurses and social workers from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United Kingdom - have helped train more than 260 healthcare professionals so far. In the first three countries where the project was implemented - Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka - the intervention has led to the development of an interdisciplinary group of enthusiastic healthcare workers eager to continue this work, starting with training their peers. The expert faculty have helped liaise with relevant policymakers to improve the pain medication regulation system. Many of the efforts have already borne fruit. In Sri Lanka, for instance, the maximum number of days morphine may be prescribed has been increased from 7 to 30. Bangladesh and Myanmar, meanwhile, have begun manufacturing oral morphine locally. The programme has since been extended to India and Bhutan. In India, where current efforts are concentrated, the aim is to bring palliative care services and oral morphine to 100 of the 327 cancer treatment centres spread across the country.
Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network