Team-based Palliative Care Training by Master Trainers in Sri Lanka (21-25 Oct 2019)

The Team-based Palliative Care Training was organized by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) team with consultancy from A/Prof Cynthia Goh (Singapore) and A/Prof Ghauri Aggarwal (Australia) on the teaching curriculum. The training took place in the Best Western Hotel, Colombo.

The training was conducted by 17 local master trainers from Sri Lanka whom were trained during our Sri Lanka Train-the-Trainers programme from 2014 to 2017. 61 participants from 21 institutions attended the training. The attendees were mainly comprised of consultants, medical officers and nursing officers. There was also representation from the Palliative Task Force of Sri Lanka, Palliative Care Association of Sri Lanka and Cancer Care Association of Sri Lanka.

The training was first welcomed and inaugurated by Dr Janaki Vidanapathirana (Director General of the NCCP, Ministry of Health Sri Lanka), together with A/Prof Cynthia Goh. It was encouraging to learn that the Ministry of Health was in full support of developing palliative care services in Sri Lanka. The Ministry had worked with SEARO (South-East Asia Regional Office) to fund the training venue and lodging for the participants from different states of Sri Lanka.

The five-day programme comprised a wide array of palliative care related topics ranging from importance of working as a team, palliative care definition and theory, team-based case sharing and discussion, biopsychosocial concept of pain and pain assessment, wound care management, care planning and difficult conversation with family to opioid availability and stocking. (See Appendix A for the training schedule)

Overall, the training was a huge success. NCCP, MOH Sri Lanka are to propose to budget for 2020 to continue palliative care training for the participants and to invite A/Prof Goh and A/Prof Aggarwal back to conduct the Refresher course. It was heartening to learn that there were many self-initiated events and activities that were driven out from the master trainers. There had been Continuing Medical Education in palliative care conducted in the various hospitals. In fact, Karapitiya Hospital in Galle is currently building a palliative care centre beside its hospital in order to serve more patients in their region.

After the training, the participants initiated creating a WhatsApp group amongst themselves. They have been actively using the chat group to discuss palliative care cases, share best practices and seek advice from the faculty regarding complex cases of patients.

Reported by A/Prof Cynthia Goh, A/Prof Ghauri Aggarwal and Mr Giam Cheong Leong

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Published on: 1 November, 2019 | Last modified: 10 June, 2020