Karnataka’s palliative care policy understaffed and underfunded

City Health State

The palliative care cell opened in Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology is currently running on an ad-hoc budget.

Bangalore, March 1, 2018: The palliative care policy of Karnataka which was introduced in August, 2016 is yet to deliver on its promise.

Karnataka is third after Maharashtra and Kerala to have a palliative care policy. The benefits of this policy were to reach terminally-ill patients in the state regardless of their social and economic standing. However, there is still a long way ahead says Dr. MA Balasubramanya, CEO of the Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, a health and education development organization.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that in India, the morbidity and mortality from non-communicable diseases are on the rise with 60 per cent deaths attributed to it. The WHO has also estimated that, in every district around the world, there are 20,000 patients who are in need of palliative care but only two per cent receive it.

Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bangalore, has found that there are almost 1.8 lakh registered cancer patients in Karnataka and around 60,000 new patients are added every year.

Dr. M.A. Balasubramanya says that the palliative care cell which has been opened in Kidwai Memorial needs to function but the staff is not in place. This cell has been opened under the supervision of Karnataka government.

The budgetary allocation is ad-hoc and the necessary funds are yet to be released. The National programme on non-communicable diseases, the HIV programme and, the National Health Mission emphasize the implementation of palliative care.

Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement is organising a fundraising event addressing the subject of palliative care. A musical event is scheduled to be held on 4th March 2018 at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall in Bangalore from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM. The tickets are priced at Rs. 1000, Rs. 3000 and Rs. 5000.