Children’s Palliative Care ECHO in the Middle East: Transforming Lives and Enhancing Medical Skills

Categories: Education.

Cancer and other chronic illnesses are significant public health concerns in the Eastern Mediterranean Region (EMR), ranking as the fourth leading cause of death. This burden is expected to increase over time. There is substantial variation in the availability of palliative care services across EMR countries, highlighting the importance of integrating palliative care into primary healthcare to improve access to children.

The Sunflower Children’s Network team is excited to expand its reach to the EMR through Project ECHO. This builds on their successful education and training initiatives in South and Southeast Asia. In partnership with paediatric colleagues in EMR, Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration, a Canadian foundation, has launched a second batch of an online learning programme on Children’s Palliative Care. Due to the high demand and success of the initial 6-week programme conducted in January 2024, this online course on children’s palliative care is tailored to physicians, as well as nurses, physiotherapists and other health professionals caring for children with serious illnesses in the EMR.

On May 6, 2024, the course began with a lively opening ceremony. Dr. Megan Doherty, Paediatric Palliative Care Director at Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration, graced the occasion with her presence and warmly welcomed both the participants and faculty members. Following this,  Dr. Amrita Sarpal, Senior Paediatric Critical Care Specialist at Sidra Medicine and assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medicine in Qatar delivered an engaging lecture. Dr. Sarpal provided an insightful introduction to Paediatric Palliative Care and explored various models for delivering this specialised form of care. Subsequently, Dr. Bahaeldin Juma, a Paediatric Intensivist from Qatar, delivered an interactive case presentation, enriching the learning experience for all attendees.

This 6-week training programme will use the Project ECHO model, incorporating lectures and case discussions to facilitate deeper learning. The programme will be led by regional experts, with a goal of equipping professionals with the essential tools to effectively support children with serious illnesses and their families, addressing a range of challenges across physical, emotional, social, and spiritual domains.

The course faculty includes experts from the Middle East and Canada. They have come together to help build connections among healthcare professionals and offer guidance and support throughout and after the course.

Key course topics include:

  • Introduction to Paediatric Palliative Care
  • Exploring Goals of care with patients and their families
  • Pain Management: Opioids start and titration.
  • Multidisciplinary Team: Role of Dietitians in a Palliative Care Team
  • Symptom Management in Palliative Care
  • Holistic End of Life Care

Upon completion of the course, participants will receive an official certificate. The course is endorsed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (UK). This continued collaboration marks a significant stride towards establishing healthcare systems equipped to address the needs of children with serious illnesses across the Eastern Mediterranean Region.


  1. Àndrew Adeck Omuse

    It is interesting as will empower health workers with technicality of provision of palliative care to pediatrics and thus quality of life. Most children are ignored during many procedures with assumption of pain free. They are human like any body children and adult alike and feel cruciating unbearable pain. The training gives children hope ,and quality of life.

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