Editor: Natasha Datoo – Paediatric Hematologist/Oncologist and Paediatric Palliative Care
We are very excited to provide an update on the Paediatric Palliative Care Fellowship programme, offered jointly by the Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care and Two World Cancer Collaboration. We are pleased to announce that the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (UK) recently reviewed and endorsed the programme.
The first cohort of trainees have recently completed their fellowship year, graduating as paediatric palliative care specialists. Dr. Xiohara Gentica, Dr. Lannie T. Fofue, both from the Philippines, and Dr. Ramesh Dampuri from India are excited to begin their work as paediatric palliative care specialists. They will continue to work with their institutions and teams to help improve the quality of life of children and families living with serious illness.
News of this unique fellowship programme has started to travel widely, and the programme welcomed 3 new 2022 fellows in January 2022. Dr. Alden Uyvico from National Children’s Hospital (Philippines), Dr. Sabitha Binu Ninan from Cancer Institute (Chennai, India) and Dr. Zannat Ara from Dhaka Medical College Hospital (Bangladesh) are joining the fellowship for 2022.
On 13 January 2022, the Celebration Ceremony for the fellowship programme took place. The programme included a graduation ceremony for the 2021 fellows as well as a welcome ceremony for the new 2022 fellows. More than 50 guests joined the ceremony from the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Canada and New Zealand, celebrating the successes of the first year’s fellows and welcoming the new trainee physicians.
A dedicated and enthusiastic team from National Children’s Hospital joined the celebration, including Dr. Epifania Simbul, hospital director and Dr. Joselyn Eusebio, President of the Philippine Pediatric Society. From Bangladesh, Professor Nezamuddin Ahmed, former head of the department of Palliative Medicine, BSMMU and president of the Bangladesh Palliative Care Association, Professor Iffat Ara Shamshad, Head Dept of paediatrics, Dhaka Medical College Hospital and Professor Zohora Jameela, Head of Paediatric Hematology and Oncology, Dhaka Medical College Hospital. We thank all the distinguished guests and leaders from across South and Southeast Asia who were able to join. We are so grateful for their support and dedication to paediatric palliative care.
Representatives from Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration included Dr. Simon Sutcliffe, President, and Dr. Stuart Brown, Director. Dr. Gayatri Palat (Director, Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care) and Dr. Megan Doherty (Pediatric Palliative Care Program Director) were also present, along with a large group of course faculty and supporters from Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration.
The WHO defines palliative care as the prevention and relief of suffering of adult and paediatric patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness. These problems include the physical, psychological, social and spiritual suffering of patients, and psychological, social and spiritual suffering of family members. Training individuals who care for children and their families in pediatric palliative care is of utmost importance and will improve the lives of these children no matter where they live.
Our fellowship programme is one year and includes clinical placements for fellows in India as well as the fellow’s home country. The clinical training is complemented by focused virtual sessions on clinical skills, as well as teaching and mentorship using online video conferencing platforms.
Due to the COVID pandemic, most of the teaching programme has been virtual. However, this has allowed the fellows to receive teaching and support from a large group of paediatric palliative care experts as well as paediatricians and paediatric oncologists from around the world. This training includes not only didactic teaching on core palliative care topics such as pain and symptom management, enhanced communication, advanced care planning and care coordination, but also case-based learning and discussions about setting up new palliative care programmes.
Virtual interdisciplinary case rounds were held with the fellows and their hospital palliative care teams to discuss difficult cases and learn from each other. The fellows also engaged in journal clubs and learned how to organise and run their own Project ECHO online course on Palliative Care. Dr. Matt Carwana provided supervision of the fellowship’s research programme, including teaching on research methodology and mentorship to successfully develop and complete a scholarly project during their training year.
In the past years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to adapt and learn how to stay connected with our patients in the healthcare setting. Although this has been difficult, it has shown us new ways to interact, grow and learn from each other and in some ways it has brought us closer together.
This fellowship programme has given us the opportunity to see how we could come together virtually and successfully train, teach and mentor new palliative care specialists. The many virtual sessions taught by faculty members in different continents showed us we can continue to learn and grow together, even when faced with immense challenges such as a global pandemic.
We are grateful to the dedicated and committed team at National Children’s Hospital for partnering with the PPC Fellowship programme for the inaugural year.
We are also so grateful for our new partners and friends in India and Bangladesh for supporting their colleagues and believing in paediatric palliative care and our training programme.
We wish our newly trained paediatric palliative care specialists all the best as they continue to enhance the care of seriously ill children with their new skills. We also look forward to starting our next year of training and look forward to further learning together virtually, and hopefully in person!
We hope the passion and dedication to paediatric palliative care will allow our fellows to go on to improve the lives of children and their families for years to come. This fellowship programme is supported by Two Worlds Cancer collaboration and the Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care.
For additional information about the fellowship programme, please consult the IAHPC website listing of training programs:
Inquires about the programme can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org