With an estimated 29 000 children in Bangladesh needing specialised end of life care each year, there are presently just 2 doctors providing children's palliative care in this impoverished country. This project will provide training for 20 doctors and 10 nurses in the basics of children's palliative care resulting in a massive improvement in the quality of life and relief of suffering of an estimated 1,200 children and their families.
Without appropriate training, health care professionals lack the skills and knowledge to control severe pain and unpleasant symptoms in children. Most find it even harder to communicate with honesty and empathy with the sick child and family members. Social, spiritual and psychological support for the dying child and their families is seldom prioritised or provided, leading to even greater suffering. Less than 1% of children requiring this specialised care in Bangladesh have access to it.
Collaborating with the 2 qualified doctors living in Dhaka , ICPCN will support the provision of 3 days intensive training and continued mentoring in children's palliative care for 20 doctors and 10 nurses. These professionals will learn how to identify children in need of palliative care, how to communicate effectively with them, how to assess and manage pain and other unpleasant symptoms in children, pain control at the end of life and how to assist families through loss and bereavement.
Research has shown that the provision of palliative care to a child not only has the potential to vastly improve that child's quality of life, but in many cases also extends it. By training and mentoring 20 doctors and 10 nurses in palliative care, there is the potential to vastly improve the quality of life of at least 12 000 children each year who have a life-threatening or life-limiting illness such as cancer, tuberculosis and neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy.