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Times of India
10 October
By , Umesh Isalkar
Pune , India

As part of the World Palliative Care Day celebrations, the Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre has organised an awareness rally in the city on Saturday. Around 400 people participated in the rally held from Balgandharva Rang Mandir to Shaniwarwada.

After the walk, a puppet show sensitised people about the need of palliative care for patients and their families.

On the occasion, the centre launched a helpline number (020–65292912) to offer palliative care and counselling to patients and their relatives over phone. Former Bollywood actress Kimi Katkar launched the helpline. Stickers of the helpline number, designed for cars, were distributed after the rally to raise awareness.

The world celebrated palliative care day on October 8. From this year, the scope of palliative care has been widened to include other non–communicable diseases also.

Palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing problems associated with life–threatening illnesses.

"Currently, the perception in India about palliative care is that it is the last option and resort for terminally ill cancer patients. However, with the scope of palliative care being widened, it would help change the mindset of people. Palliative care should be introduced at the stage of diagnosis," said Priyadarshini Kulkarni, medical director, Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre.

'Many diseases, many lives, many voices – palliative care for non–communicable conditions' was the theme for World Palliative Care Day 2011. It was for the first time that non–communicable diseases were included within the scope of palliative care. Non–communicable conditions make up 60% death worldwide and 80% of these occur in low and middle–income countries.

"The theme aims to spread awareness that palliative care helps to cope up with not only life–threatening diseases like cancer and AIDS but also non–communicable conditions like cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory conditions and diabetes," Kulkarni said.

S V Iyer, managing trustee of the centre, said: "Our centre has provided free care for 7,400 patients since its inception, but the 50–bed facility was never full due to a lack of awareness on palliative care. With the launch of the helpline, the centre will be able to help patients with information on palliative care and facilitate them with support to get admitted at the centre."

Set up at Warje, the Cipla Palliative Care and Training Centre follows a unique family model of care, where a family member is trained to look after the patient with confidence at home.

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