Palliative care is part of a treatment approach which aims at making the lives of patients with incurable diseases less painful.
This approach of treatment focuses on providing relief from physical pain as well as mental stress at any stage of the terminal illness.
Palliative care services were introduced in Bangladesh for both children and general patients in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in 2007.
The service was officially launched in 2011 and a separate department was established for palliative care in 2016 in BSMMU.
Dr Rubaiyat Rahman, Medical Officer at the Department of Palliative Medicine of BSMMU told Bangladesh Post, “People often think that palliative care is provided to the patients who are dying but actually palliative care is given to any patient who is suffering from incurable diseases. For example, a patient who has suffered from a stroke might be paralyzed for the rest of his life. Such patients also require palliative care.”
He further said that a patient suffering with incurable diseases might suffer from 60-70 types of problems including physical and mental fatigue and nausea.
“In the Centre for Palliative Care at BSMMU, we try to provide community-based healthcare to the patients with an aim to alleviate physical, social, mental, and spiritual pain. There are only 18 beds in the palliative center of BSMMU, but on an average of 9.5 lakh people require palliative care in our country,” he said.
This service is provided 24 hours through cell phones and treatment is also offered at homes (within 20 kms of BSMMU) of patients suffering from incurable diseases.
“Any patient can call us at any time if he/she is mentally upset or just for the sake of talking,” he said.
The patients can get palliative care services at a one-time payment of Tk 30 at BSMMU.
The department has a fund where people can donate to help the patients.
The Department of Palliative Medicine Centre for Palliative Care at BSMMU was founded by Dr Nezamuddin Ahmad.
Former health minister Mohammed Nasim had taken initiative to include palliative care in the health policy of our country in 2014. However, it has not been implemented yet.
A discussion meeting will be held today at the Department of Palliative Medicine Centre for Palliative Care at BSMMU in this regard to include palliative care in the health policy of the country as soon as possible.