We are very excited to announce the launch of a new Pediatric Palliative Care Fellowship program, offered jointly by the Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care and Two World Cancer Collaboration. This program will provide specialist level training for pediatricians who wish to develop expertise in pediatric palliative care. The first two trainees in this program, Dr. Lannie Fofue and Dr. Xiohara Gentica, are pediatricians from National Children’s Hospital (Philippines).
The Opening Ceremony for the fellowship was held virtually on January 15, 2021, with excited participants joining from the Philippines, India, Canada and New Zealand to celebrate the beginning of this educational initiative together.
A dedicated and enthusiastic team from National Children’s Hospital joined the celebration, including Dr. Epifania Simbul, hospital director. Dr. Joselyn Eusebio, President of the Philippine Pediatric Society, also welcomed the very first two pediatricians who will be training in the fellowship program, wishing them all the best on this important milestone.
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.
National Children’s Hospital is a government run tertiary care pediatric hospital in Manila, Philippines. It has the largest pediatric and neonatal intensive care units in the Philippines. It has a variety of services including in-patient, ambulatory and surgical care and cares for children with a variety of serious illnesses including oncology, cardiac, neurology and respirology conditions.
The WHO defines pediatric palliative care as the prevention and relief of suffering of adult and pediatric 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.
The new fellowship program will run for one year with clinical placements for fellows both in the Philippines and in India. The clinical training will be complemented by focused virtual training for clinical skills, as well as teaching and mentorship using online video conferencing platforms. Fellows will gain skills in clinical pediatric palliative care as well as learn how to effectively teach team members in their respective centres about the speciality. In the future, the hope is to be able to disseminate knowledge with the goal of creating a multidisciplinary team of people who can care for and provide comfort to seriously ill children.
In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us all to adapt and learn how to stay connected with our patients in the healthcare setting as well as our loved ones personally in new ways. Although this has been difficult and has many challenges, it has shown us new ways to interact, grow and learn from each other. In a way, it has brought us closer together. The fellowship program will use in person teaching as well as virtual sessions taught by faculty members in different continents to enhance our trainees learning and show different perspectives in pediatric palliative care.
We are so grateful to the dedicated and committed team at National Children’s Hospital for partnering with the PPC Fellowship program for this inaugural year. We wish our two new fellows all the best as we embark on this new journey supported by Two Worlds Cancer collaboration and the Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care. We hope the passion and dedication to pediatric palliative care will allow our fellows to go on to improve the lives of children and their families for years to come.