It is quite a coincidence! At the same time as the first day of our 6th and last Training-of-Trainers module in Yangon General Hospital, the National Seminar on Comprehensive Oncology Services was held at Nay Pyi Daw.
This national cancer forum is attended by administrators and policy makers from the national Ministry of Health, as well as radiation oncologists and medical oncologists from both government and private hospitals, representatives of academic institutions involved in training the health professionals, and non-governmental organisations such as Shwe Yaung Hnin Si Cancer foundation.
The Chairperson of the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network (APHN) and Faculty Lead of the Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care project, Professor Cynthia Goh, gave a speech on the implementation of palliative care in cancer service.
We heard the good news that all the attendees are very much interested in palliative care and that they appreciate the hard work and enthusiasm of APHN for the establishment of palliative care services in Myanmar.
The meeting identified as a priority the setting up of palliative care services as part of comprehensive oncology services in Myanmar. This speaks to the fact that the World Health Organization has identified the setting up of palliative care services as part of Universal Health Coverage and Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) management.
At the training centre, Yangon General Hospital, all the faculty members and the trainees were excited and active from the very first day. We were thrilled to share the knowledge and experience of our palliative care practice within the previous six months to the faculty members and each other.
During the last module of the Training of Trainers workshop, faculty members encouraged us and taught us the different methods of teaching such as lectures, case-based discussions, large- and small group teaching and the use of role play. This is a good topic for the trainees who will become trainers in the near future.
We also discussed spiritual care, spirituality, self-care and the ethical dilemmas involved in providing palliative care. Our faculty members covered a wide range of palliative care topics and also revised many important issues in palliative care such as difficult pain, wound care, colostomy care and communication among others.
My colleague, Dr Aye Aye Naing, and I shared our learning and experience from the fellowship training program in the Division of Palliative Medicine, National Cancer Center of Singapore, as part of the Lien Collaborative for Palliative Care project. All the participants were interested to hear about the palliative care service in Singapore.
Prof Goh compared the faculty members to parents who are excited but concerned for their offspring who will now start to fly out from their nest. However, they know their children will be fine as they are well equipped and trained and their ‘parents’ will always be there to support them. These warm words touched our hearts.
Professor Myint Thaung, Head and Professor of the Orthopedic Surgical Department, said that he would fully support the establishment of palliative care services and palliative care education, and encouraged us to try our best in serving our patients with palliative care.
During my closing speech, I noted that we owe a deep sense of gratitude to the Prof Myint Thaung, Prof Cynthia Goh, all the faculty members and APHN for the difference made by the palliative care Training of Trainers program over the past three years.
We are changed by the knowledge of the value added by palliative care and we want to give a holistic and interdisciplinary palliative care approach to our patients to promote their quality of life. We also want to share that precious knowledge and experience to all our health care personnel and so we are interested in palliative care education.
With deep sense of gratitude, we gave our remarkable Myanmar traditional souvenirs to all the faculty members and project manager of APHN. The last module of the Training of Trainers program was successfully concluded by proudly awarding the completion certificates to all the participants.
Although the training is the last module, I think it is the beginning of our palliative care journey. All the participants are excited and thrilled to be empowered, and dedicated to trying our best in establishing palliative care services in our own hospitals.
This article was originally published on the APHN website. It is reprinted with permission.