“niiti”, a Sanskrit word means, in different contexts, policy, ethics, tenets. To us, who belong here, it is our raison d’etre, our touchstone. So we constantly turn to our ethics and tenets when we re-examine the basis of what we do and how we do it over and over again. This is our space to engage with our core, with you, our readers and companions on the path towards an equitable society in the deepest meaning of the word. Over the past years, there are several social issues and organisations that we have engaged with and been enriched with both experience and knowledge along the way. We believe that in creating a conversation platform for those engaged in the field, including some of our clients, partners, all of you out there who have reached this site wanting to be the change and others who have expertise to comment and critique, we can actually crowd-source actions and solutions for some of our most pressing social issues.

Some of these stories feature organisations and people who have been the change; others highlight innovative approaches to long-entrenched social issues; yet others point to ways in which change can be facilitated, simply. If you are inspired by them as well and motivated to replicate their work, or want to share inputs on other bright examples like these, do write to us at

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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Pain and Palliative Care Society

A recent study of ‘Quality of death’ in 40 countries by Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked India as 40th. The need for palliative care in India thus needs no further elaboration. 

Pain and Palliative Care Society runs a social care model which is much more than a biomedical care model usually practiced in the conventional world of health care. This is meant especially for the incurably ill and dying for whom systems in India are very poorly developed and patchy except for that in Kerala.

The society was formed in 1993 by a group of doctors and social workers who deeply felt the need for development of a system of care for the incurably ill people. The idea was to try to improve the quality of life of people living with incurable and advanced diseases with health care and much more. Its direct target are the incurably ill, chronically bed ridden and dying people living in North Kerala.

Impact :  

Pain and Palliative Care Society(PPCS) is the only organization in the developing world that was recognized by the World Health Organisation as a demonstration project way back in 1996 and it is the first charitable society for community based palliative care in Low and Middle income countries. PPCS has the distinction of initiating the first community volunteer program and the first home care program for the bedridden patients to its credit. Systems have been further refined since then and quality control has been ensured. Today there exists an established system with community participation for the care of people with advanced diseases, which in addition to providing care for thousands of patients in Kerala, could effectively show how intervention by general public can improve the quality of life of fellow human beings. The organization has been an agent in changing the way a large number of people die in Kerala, it has brought about policy change in the area of Palliative Care in Kerala. It has proved that lay people can positively contribute to health care. Neighbourhood Network in Palliative Care (NNPC) formed in 1999 jointly by four organizations – Pain and Palliative Care Society, Malappuram Initiative in Palliative Care, Alpha Charitable Trust and Justice Sivaraman Foundation evolved in the next few years to become World’s largest palliative care network.

Institute of Palliative Care, Calicut

The Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM) is the leading training institution for palliative care in Asia and the training, research and outreach arm of Pain and Palliative Care Society. It is the fifth WHOCC in Palliative Care and the first one in Developing World. Designation as the first WHOCC in palliative care in the Developing World is a great honor to the institution and also to Kerala.

What do they do?

  1. Run the Palliative Care Outpatient clinic at Calicut Medical College Hospital. The clinic sees more than 250 patients every week. More than 2000 patients with advanced cancer, major problems related to old age, stroke, spinal injuries and people with HIV/ AIDS register as new patients every year.
  2. Maintain a 32 bedded inpatient unit for patients with advanced diseases at Institute of Palliative Medicine. Patients with difficult physical/ emotional symptoms, dying patients and bed ridden patients in need of a change in atmosphere are admitted for round the clock care
  3. Look after patients with advanced disease in and around Calicut. The home care program in collaboration with Palliative Care Society, Calicut has more than 750 patients registered for regular home care. Calicut is the only place in the country with a round the clock home care service.
  4. Run a Community Care Center for People Living With HIV/AIDS
  5. Train and vocationally rehabilitate bedridden patients through Footprints program partially supported by Sir Ratan Tata Trust. More than 100 bedridden patients currently earn a regular income through the program.


  1.  Institute of Palliative Medicine is the technical advisor agency in palliative care to Local Self Government
  2. Department Facilitates the development of palliative care programs in Government sector in Kerala. Kerala State Resource Center at Institute of Palliative Medicine coordinates the National Rural Health Mission project in Palliative Care. The project has facilitated the development of palliative home care units in all the 1000 Local Self Government Institutions in Kerala
  3. Develops Students in Palliative Care program in various campuses to involve students in the care of the bedridden and dying people


  1. Facilitates the development of community based programs in regions outside Kerala. Palliative care programs are being developed in Delhi, various districts in Tamil Nadu and in Karnataka under this scheme 
  2. Institute of Palliative Medicine advises Ministry of Health, Government of India on development of palliative care programs in the country


  1. Institute of Palliative Medicine is the technical advisor to World Health Organization and Member countries on matters related to community participation in palliative care
  2. Institute of Palliative Medicine has been developing palliative care projects in Bangladesh, Thailand, Srilanka, Jordan, Seychelles, Ethiopia and Switzerland in collaboration with national agencies
  3. Institute of Palliative Medicine has been running six week Basic Certificate Course in Palliative Medicine for doctors in Bangladesh. This is the first professional course in palliative care in Bangladesh
  4. Institute of Palliative Medicine has been running six week Basic Certificate Course in Palliative Nursing for nurses in Thailand. This is the first professional course in palliative care in Thailand
Message from Pain & Palliative Care Society: Help in developing a system of care for people in their last phase of life because we all have to die one day. 

For more information, feel free to contact Dr Suresh Kumar, Director, Institute of Palliative Medicine, Calicut 673008 email:

Dr Suresh Kumar is the Director of Institute of Palliative Medicine which is also the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Community Participation in Palliative Care and Long Term Care. 


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