It used to be that Palliative Care is developing in Bangladesh, where only some doctors and members of the public have heard of the term. However, this has dramatically changed over the past 2 years, with more doctors, medical professionals and the general public paying attention to and recognizing the importance of palliative care.
Palliative care is very much needed in Bangladesh. For instance, about 70% of cancer patients are diagnosed at the late stage where cure is unlikely. The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) has been working closely with local partners to contribute towards the development palliative care in Bangladesh.
Aside from implementing the Training-of-Trainer in Palliative Care program for Bangladesh since 2013 (as part of the Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care initiative), the APHN has also help to facilitate the transfer of syringe drivers from Australia to Bangladesh, as well as related syringe driver training workshops. In 2014, APHN worked with the ASHIC Foundation in Bangladesh to coordinate the transfer of 22 Graseby syringe drivers (MS26) donated by South West Healthcare, Australia. Following this, the 1st Syringe Driver workshop jointly facilitated by the APHN and the ASHIC Foundation was conducted on 14th August 2014. The 2nd Syringe Driver workshop was jointly organized by the APHN and the Bangladesh Medical College Hospital (BMCH) on 13th August 2015. Dr. Shahinur Kabir, an APHN member, helped to coordinate this local workshop on behalf of APHN. The workshops aim to assist all participants to attain the knowledge and skills required for the safe use of the Graseby MS26 syringe driver in providing appropriate pain and symptom management for both adult and paediatric palliative care patients. The facilitators of the 2nd workshop were Dr. Shahinur Kabir, Dr. Rumana Dawla, Dr. Zohora Jameela By: Dr Shahinur Kabir, Ashic Palliative Care Unit; Shanti Oncology & Palliative Care Unit APHN – BMCH Graseby Syringe Driver workshop in Bangladesh Khan and Dr. Megan Doherty.
BMCH is the first private medical college hospital in Bangladesh. The department of Oncology was the main coordinator of the workshop. Dr. Zafor Masud (Head of Oncology, BMCH) an avid supporter of developing palliative care in Bangladesh, worked closely with participating organizations to conduct the workshop. In this workshop, 6 doctors and 17 nurses are among the 23 participants from three organizations, namely, BMCH, Shanti Oncology and Palliative Care Unit and Hospice Bangladesh. The workshop was well-received by doctors and nurses who were keen to use the drivers. This knowledge was especially pertinent to nurses, who are the main caregivers within the palliative setting. Participants were grateful for the opportunity to attend the workshop and extended their thanks to the organizers and APHN.
Story of using syringe driver in Bangladesh:
Juleka, who is turning four this year, was diagnosed with a retinoblastoma in 2011. She received 6 cycles of chemotherapy and completed radiotherapy in 2011. Although she lives in a city which is which far from the capitol city of Dhaka, her father ensured that Juleka completed her treatment. In June, 2015, Juleka began complaining of headache and chest pain. Around the same time, she also complained of vomiting and her retinoblastoma regrew. Then, she developed convulsions. They came to ASHIC Foundation and discovered that her disease had already metastasized to the brain and chest. She was suffering from severe pain and convulsions. Dr. Shahinur Kabir used the donated Grasby Syringe driver for her pain and convulsion here at the ASHIC Foundation, the first pediatric palliative care service established in Bangladesh. She was the first paediatric patient to use this syringe driver. The donation of this syringe driver makes it possible to see smiles on palliative patients here in Bangladesh.
We will like to thank South West Healthcare, who donated the drivers generously to APHN, and Palliative Care Australia for facilitating the transfer of the syringe drivers.