- Will you like to share your experience in working in Bangladesh?
In Bangladesh, I work as a paediatric palliative care physician, as the project lead for the Children’s Palliative Care Initiative. This is involves working to make physicians and health care providers more aware of children’s palliative care and how it can help children with life-limiting conditions. Additionally, I do education and training of doctors and nurses in children’s palliative care, both through teaching sessions and hands-on training. I also provide clinical care for children with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses at BSMMU (a large academic government hospital) in Dhaka. The work is incredibly interesting and challenging. I get to be an advocate and champion for children’s palliative care, as well as, working directly with children and families.
- When did you decide that you will specialise in paediatric palliative care?
I decided to specialize in paediatric palliative care when I was doing my training in general paediatrics. In Canada, anyone who wants to be a paediatrician, must first do training in general paediatrics and then can do further training in a particular speciality of paediatrics. While doing this training, I realized that I wanted to help children and families who were dealing with very serious illnesses. I wanted to be able to help address their physical suffering, but also their emotional, social, spiritual and psychological needs. I realized that palliative care was a field where I could do this. I really enjoyed the multi-disciplinary nature of palliative care and the emphasis on quality of life and alleviation of suffering.
- Everyone has someone they look up to, someone whose life motivates them. Do you have anyone like that?
I am inspired by many of those who were pioneers in the field of palliative care, especially those who were championing the cause of children. I see these colleagues as my mentors and role models. The spoke out bravely at a time when very few people recognized the suffering of children. It was not that long ago that many physicians did not believe the babies could feel pain.
- How has the International Paediatric Palliative Care Discussion Forum (iPDF) been a resource for you and your colleagues?
I have enjoyed participating in discussion on iPDF, as it has allowed me to hear about the approach which others are using to address particularly distressing symptoms. I especially enjoy discussions which involve not only medical or physical issues, but also address non-pharmacological strategies or alternative medicine, as these are areas where I am interested to learn more. The information from iPDF has also stimulated discussion between myself and other local colleagues in palliative care, encouraging us to discuss symptom management in more detail, in the context of what is available in Bangladesh.
- What are some of the discussion topics that you will be interested to see in the iPDF in 2016?
I would be interested to have more discussion on iPDF about alternative therapies which can be helpful for treating pain and other symptoms. Procedural pain is also an area which has not been adequately addressed in Bangladesh, so I would like to hear about strategies which have worked to improve procedural pain management in other low resource settings.
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