Sunflower Children’s Network 2023 Annual Report: Nurturing Growth, Cultivating

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In 2020, Two Worlds Cancer Collaboration launched the Sunflower Children’s Network, to increase access to paediatric palliative care in South and Southeast Asia.

Since that time the Network has grown to include partners in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. The network focuses on supporting partners to develop new clinical palliative care programmes for children, while also collaborating on education and mentorship programmes. These clinical and education programmes are enhanced through research and programme assessment activities which measure the impact of Network activities, allowing new knowledge about best practices to be shared.











We are excited to share our first-ever annual report, highlighting the Network’s achievements over the past year.

Some highlights from 2023 include, conducting an ECHO course on palliative care, with more than 60 paediatric healthcare workers in Nepal. The course allowed participants and faculty to discuss challenging palliative care cases and share solutions. The ECHO course was followed by a 2-day in-person workshop in October 2023, which included key palliative care experts from Nepal and Canada. The workshop addressed key palliative care topics including pain management, supporting children and parents facing serious illness, play therapy, and grief and bereavement.

Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital, in Bhutan joined the Sunflower Network in 2023, as we conducted an ECHO course with 50 local healthcare workers. Following this online course, paediatric nurses and physicians in Bhutan and Nepal joined together to create an online Community of Practice, which includes monthly teaching sessions and discussion of challenging cases.

In Sri Lanka, we conducted an 8-week PPC ECHO course, which was very enthusiastically received by local paediatricians, with more than 60 participating and many more eager to join the next course, which is planned for April 2024.

We celebrated the graduation of 4 paediatric palliative care fellows, who completed our 1-year fellowship training program, in partnership with the Hyderabad Centre for Palliative Care. These fellows, from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Philippines, are now equipped to become leaders and experts in children’s palliative care. We are excited to welcome 5 new fellows into the fellowship program in 2024.

Building on 3 years of collaboration with National Children’s Hospital in the Philippines, we developed a new online course focused on training healthcare professionals in the best practices in medical education, including topics such as designing multiple choice examinations, bedside teaching, and providing effective feedback to trainees. The course, called COMET (Collaborative Online Medical Education ECHO), included 11 interactive sessions over six months with teaching provided by medical education experts from the University of Ottawa and the Philippines.

The team from National Children’s Hospital also hosted the first ever National Paediatric Palliative Care Symposium in November, with 182 participants (75 doctors, 76 nurses, 28 social workers and 3 allied health professionals) from various government and private hospitals from all of the major islands in the country. Several expert faculty from Hummingbird Hospice, in Australia were present as keynote speakers.

In August, we launched the Sunflower Podcast, which aims to explore the joys and challenges of working in palliative care, including topics related to education, advocacy, self-care, service provision, and leadership from around the world. The podcast is aimed at nurses, counselors, pharmacists, doctors, and anyone else who is interested to explore children’s palliative care, with perspectives from around the world. The podcast is available for free on Spotify, Apple, and Google Podcasts.

For more details about these and other activities of the Sunflower Children’s Network, you can read the full report.

In 2024, we are excited to continue to work with our partners, to ensure that holistic palliative care is available for all children with serious illnesses and for their families.

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