Thirty-six doctors and nurses in the Bangladesh city of Chittagong participated in the first dedicated Paediatric Palliative Care Training workshop to take place in Bangladesh. The training was hosted by Chittagong Medical College Hospital, with participants from this hospital as well as several other large training hospitals in Chittagong.
The training was supported by the International Children’s Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) and World Child Cancer. Drs Zohora Jameela Khan and Megan Doherty, both the only paediatric palliative care consultants in Bangladesh, travelled to Chittagong to facilitate the workshop. The participants learned about the importance of palliative care, not only for children with cancer, but also for those with a variety of other life-threatening and life-limiting conditions, including cerebral palsy, perinatal asphyxia, congenital heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.
A highlight for many of the participants was the screening of the feature length “Little Stars” film which has been translated into Bengali by Dr Zohora Jameela Khan.
Focus on practical skills
The training was focussed on providing participants with practical skills to provide palliative care. All participants practiced breaking bad news through role-playing scenarios. There was also a case based discussion on the management of pain in children.
Participants appreciated a session about mindfulness and self-care in the setting of grief and loss, as this is rarely discussed in Bangladesh. Several participants shared about how it is often very difficult for health care providers in Bangladesh when a child dies, as the family may blame the doctor or nurse for the child’s death.
In the final session participants brainstormed about how to develop palliative care in their own hospitals. Participants made plans to screen the “Little Stars” film, to provide training sessions for other doctors, and to develop a project proposals for opening a paediatric palliative care service.
“Excellent initiative for Paediatric Palliative Care for distressed children,” commented one participant after the training with others asking for refresher training every 6 months or yearly. “It is [a] very helpful workshop for me, we come to know about the conception of use of morphine in the palliative care for children,” wrote another.
With the support of the ICPCN and World Child Cancer, Drs Khan and Doherty plan to provide similar training workshops across Bangladesh.