A small but exciting part of health care development
In Nepal, palliative care [PC] has only been recognised in recent years. In the past, terminally ill patients were often just left to die. There was little awareness amongst doctors how to treat these patients, or how to make their final days as comfortable as possible. There was very little understanding of their needs and hardly any support for the families who cared for them.
Nepal has now embraced palliative care services and a lot of progress has been made. For instance, thanks to NAPCare’s [Nepalese Association for Palliative Care] dedicated work, morphine is now commonly available for patients.
INF has been supporting palliative care for many years. But there was a big step change when God brought two specialists to Nepal in 2013, Dr Dan [UK], and Dr Ruth [Australia].
Training in how to care for terminally ill people has been given to community groups and churches. Green Pastures Hospital now has a dedicated room and a special Poor Fund for PC patients. A small community outreach service has recently started, where Purna, a PC worker will visit patients in their own homes and give specialist care and advice. Plans are underway to build a hospice in the hospital compound in the coming years. Based in Tansen, Manju is providing a PC service and training others.
How you can make a difference
By supporting this work you can help more Nepali people experience Christian compassion and love in their final days.
Palliative Care in Nepal – milestones
- 2000: the first hospice [private] was established
- 2009: Nepalese Association for Palliative Care [NAPCare] was registered
- 2013: Nepal’s government started sponsoring training courses delivered by NAPCare
- 2014: Nepal signed the 2014 World Health Assembly PC Declaration, agreeing to integrate PC into the health system
- 2016: the first Nepali PC specialist returned from training in the UK
- 2016: NAPCare led the development of a National Strategy supported by other stakeholders including the government, World Health Organisation and international colleagues
- 2017: the Ministry of Health formally adopted the strategy
What is palliative care?
Palliative care means providing holistic care for people at very difficult stages of their life. It recognises the importance of providing both physical and spiritual care to those with life-limiting illnesses. When physical symptoms and pain are not properly managed, patients can find it difficult to deal with the important issues they face at the end of their lives.
Life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, neurological diseases like Motor Neurone disease, and other end-stage diseases affecting heart, lungs or kidneys require holistic care. Families also need support and care during both the caring phase and bereavement.
Palliative Care in Nepal
In Nepal, palliative care first started about 15 years ago, with limited hospices and hospital services provided in Kathmandu.
Palliative Care in Nepal is developing, but it is mainly available around Kathmandu. The vision is for people to have this type of specialist care wherever they live, and so INF is helping develop much-needed palliative care services in other areas of Nepal.