Bangladeshi medical students reflect on ‘Before I Die’ board on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day 2018

“You matter because you are you, and you matter to the end of your life.” This year – 2018 – is the centenary of Dame Cicely Saunders, founder of the modern hospice movement. The theme of this year’s World Hospice Palliative Care Day recalls this famous, iconic and motivational quote. ‘Because I Matter’ indicates that every patient is important and deserves the best care until death.

To make this important day even more special and successful we at Hospice Bangladesh, Aastha Hospice and World Child Cancer (WCC) jointly organised a ‘BEFORE I DIE’ board event at Bangladesh Medical College (BMC) campus.

‘BEFORE I DIE’ board is a global participatory art project where people can write their important wishes – what they want to do before they die – on the board with chalk and thus share this with others.

We started this event last year on the eve of World Hospice Palliative Care Day 2017 at Dhaka Medical College (DMC) Campus.

Now ‘Before I Die’ has become a popular event in Bangladesh. At the very beginning we received a huge positive response from the participants. Since our first ‘Before I Die’ board, we have organised this event at four different institutions.

At Bangladesh Medical College campus we found a tremendous response from medical students, doctors, teachers and all other participants.

The Honourable Hospital Director, Dr Abdus Sabur Khan; Principal Professor Samsul Alam; Oncology Head Professor Zafor Masud; Dr Shahinur Kabir, Palliative Care Specialist; and the heads of many different departments in the medical college and hospital attended and wrote their wishes on the board.

Dr Sazia Afrin, who is a dermatology specialist in Bangladesh Medical College Hospital, a palliative care activist and trustee of Aastha Hospice, worked with us and supported us from the beginning to end.

The event took place between from 9am and 1pm on World Hospice and Palliative Care Day. We provided T-shirts printed with the World Day logo, as well as chocolate and coffee for the participants.

Students enjoyed the event a lot. Some wrote serious wishes and others wrote funny things. Wishes shared include: ‘I could heal all cancers’, ‘Do Hajj’, ‘Explore the steps of happiness’, ‘Travel the world’, ‘Be a good person’, ‘Pass MBBS’, ‘Live”, and ‘Do Marry”.

It made us happy and content as an organiser seeing people enjoying the event till the end. We hope and believe that this programme influenced people to talk and think about death which will indirectly encourage them to be with those people living with life limiting illness.

You can read more about World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on the website of the Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance.

You can find out more about Hospice Bangladesh on their website.