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Thursday, August 4, 2011

‘Alcohol intake can make you smashingly kindhearted’

The take home message for the day ‘Alcohol intake can make you smashingly kindhearted’. Thank you Sajith for climbing on the coconut palm, that too in the heavy rain to fix the cable to the electric post. With out you my night would have been in utter darkness. Bravo Sajith!!! Keep drinking!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Come tell the WHO and its 193 member governments what you think. !!!!

Come tell the WHO and its 193 member governments what you think.
Speak-Up Sessions at the 2nd World OPEN Health Assembly.
Together, civil society will forge its own recommendations for the World Health Organization

Tuesday 17 May, the second day of WOHA 2011, will feature a half-dozen diverse Speak-Up Sessions, moderated by partners in India, South Africa, United Kingdom and the USA. These experts and activists will help guide 1 hour global chats on twitter, with inputs also by SMS, Facebook and blogs. The topics for each session are the moderators choice, derived from the WHO/WHA official agenda (or what’s missing) and related issues of interest to their community members / followers and ‘newly-involved’ people around the world. These Speak-Up Sessions encourage people to join in the ‘open’ drafting of recommendations on 18-22 May of a policy document which will be handed to Dr. Chan, DG WHO in Geneva on the 24th of May. Speak-Up Session inputs and messages will also be included in the final declarations at the end of the Million Message March at the High Commission on Human Rights in December.

Speak-Up Sessions Tuesday 17 May

Does Your Community Care?
Moderated by Saif Sabil, IPM / National Rural Health Mission, Calicut India
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 10:00:00 GMT   
15:30 Calicut   11:00  CapeTown   12:00  London   06:00 New York

Why invest in palliative care in the era of austerity?
Moderated by Claire Morris, The WorldWide Palliative Care Alliance, London, UK
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 11:00:00 GMT
16:30 Calicut 13:00 Cape Town 12:00 London   07:00 New York

Ouch! Why can't we have universal access to drugs for severe pain?
Moderated by Keith Mienies, African Palliative Care Association, Cape Town
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 12:00:00
17:30 Calicut  14:00 Capetown  13:00 London  08:00 New York

Does the right to health extend to people who use drugs?
Moderated by Mat Southwell, INPUD, London
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 13:00:00
18:30 Calicut   15:00 Cape Town 14:00 London  09:00 New York

Universal Access for Women and Girls - Where's the Money?
Co-moderated by Anandi Yuvaraj ICW A-P, Delhi and Celina DCosta Menezes, IMAXI Cooperative, Kerala
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 13:00:00
19:30 Calicut   16:00 Cape Town 15:00 London  10:00 New York

Why would enabling communities to govern their own health help the world?
Co-Moderated by Lindsey Nicole Ruivivar and Ashley Foster, Ohio and Texas Associations of Community Health Centers
Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 19:00:00
 00:30 Calicut (Weds.)  21:00 Cape Town  20:00 London  15:00 New York

How do I Speak-Up at the Speak-Up Sessions?
Easy. If you haven't yet opened a Twitter account, today is a good day to do it.
To participate and join the chat, follow #WOHA on twitter. Send tweets to @WOHA2011, and always put the hashtag #WOHA in your tweets so they get where they should. You can also send messages by SMS to +91 8129094433 or +41 787597991, or comment on the discussion here on www.imaxi.org or http://facebook.com/MillionMessageMarch

Monday, May 16, 2011

Open Minds —> Open Source —> Open Health : The Million Message March to the UN begins

The Million Message March 2011 is a collaborative communication

campaign to mobilize community support and political commitment for

the Right to Health and Universal Access. It aims to reach out

globally to collect one million messages (by SMS or tweets) from

people in need of treatment and care (for HIV, Cancer, TB, Diabetes,

Hepatitis and other life threatening diseases) and their families,

care-givers and allies.

These ‘Voices’ will be amplified, disseminated and projected along the

‘March’ starting at the World Health Assembly in May, through two UN

High Level Meetings (HIV in June and Non-Communicable Diseases NCDs in

September), and other major health events. The Million Message March

will ‘arrive’ on Human Rights Day, the 10th of December, at the Office

of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) so

that the messages can ‘Speak-Up’ and be heard at the top of the UN and

its Member States.

We launched the Million Message March today from the Institute of

Palliative Medicine in Calicut, Kerala, India, The Institute, a WHO

Collaborating Center, is a global model for participatory community

based care,  and a fitting starting point from which to begin the

March. First Steps: the 2nd World OPEN Health Assembly (WOHA2011), in

tandem with the World Health Assembly, 16-24 May.

WOHA features a non-stop global 'chat' and dozens of 'Speak-Up

Sessions', moderated live by partners in Asia, Africa, Europe and the

Americas, on diverse topics they choose. these partners include the

Institute of Palliative Medicine (WHO Collaborating Center), INPUD

(International Network of People Who Use Drugs), the Lawyers

Collective, the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, People's Health

Movement, International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO),

Foundation for Hospice in Sub-Saharan Africa, African Palliative Care

Association, National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (US),

Human Rights Watch, The International Community of Women with HIV/AIDS

(ICW Asia-Pacific), World Care Council and others.

The Million Message March to the UN (MMM2UN) is a civil society

initiative, spearheaded by the iMAXi Cooperative with the dynamic

participation of many partners. Together, we're forging a new tool for

social mobilization via social media. Open Minds > Open Source > Open

Health  (Open to you, too!)

Join the Million Message March to the UN.  Tweet @MMM2UN  Follow

#Right2HealthStarts May 16 with the World OPEN Health Assembly.

Tweet @WOHA2011  Follow #WOHA

SMS: +41 787597991,  +91 8129094433  FB: http://on.fb.me/gxLyzl

Blogs: http://www.imaxi.org/

This 'open' and online event allows distant health experts and

activists to provide news, views and healthy commentary for launch of

the innovative MMM2UN campaign, with direct connections to leading

'actors' in Delhi, Chennai, London, Cape Town and from the World

Health Assembly in Geneva.

Twitter: @MMM2UN  #WOHA

Skype: MMM2UN

Blogs: http://www.imaxi.org/

FB: http://facebook.com/MillionMessageMarch

Media contacts:

Malayalam / English:  saifsabil@yahoo.com  +91 9846690490

English/ French: gordon@imaxi.org  +91 8129094433  / +41 787597991

Hindi / Konkanni:  menezes@imaxi.org  +919673205044

Open Minds —> Open Source —> Open Health

Sunday, May 8, 2011

“The quest for their beloved
Have turned these walls pale
I wish they knew…
My mom now dwells in her new nest
Among the stars…!!!!!!”
“…..With love to my dear mother who left me on the morning of 06.10.2010.Mom you were really special..”

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The silent battle for an empathetic society !!!

Mr. Kanaka Das is a paraplegic living in a remote area in the out skirts of Calicut city, Kerala, with his wife and two children. He started as an auto rickshaw driver and from an early age was the  only earning member of his poor family.
He was only 28 when he met with an accident that confined his life to the four walls of a small room.
The day he stopped earning Kanaka Das felt he was a burden to his family; and it didn’t help that he was bed-ridden and dependent on medication for his survival. Deeply saddened by the  treatment he received from society and even from his own family, he felt depressed and isolated. Remembering those dark days, Kanaka Das reminisces,“There was no one to hear me, nobody to share my emotions with. I was not even able to comfortably sit in a wheel chair”. 

Identifying the social needs of patients like  Kanaka Das, the Institute of Palliative Medicine (IPM), Calicut conceived Project ‘Footprints’ for the social and vocational rehabilitation of chronically ill patients of the city.
The unique experiment by the imaginative stake holders of the institute was to run the project utilizing the skills that these chronically ill patients have and leveraging the untapped energy of the vibrant student population of the city- an experiment first of its kind ever.
The expected out come of the project was to change the mindset of the chronically ill from ‘burden to asset’ in the eyes of the family and to restore their social esteem by encouraging them to be self-reliant and independent.
The project was announced through media to register maximum patients within the city limits and student volunteers were mobilized from all campuses within the city to be involved with the project.
The pilot project was launched was April 2010 by organizing a workshop at IPM for the patients.
Student volunteers poured in.  They came for many reasons, Some of them came just as a relief  bunking lectures, some came with a view to score marks as part of the Compulsory Social Service scheme which is a part of their curriculum, some came just to hang out with friends, a few of them out of curiosity and many of them with genuine interest.

Kanaka Das was one of the 30 patients registered for the workshop. The emotionally shattered Das was not willing to participate in any of the programmes. He had lost faith and confidence in himself and thought nothing could change his life.
While the other patients were trying to make a painting that the volunteers were teaching them to, Das was sitting still completely lost.

The student volunteers were touched by the story of Das who was once a very active man both socially and politically. They deliberately started spending more time with him as they wanted him to draw something. Their relentless attempts helped Das gain confidence in himself and he slowly started opening up and mingling with others. On the third day of the camp, Das came up with a beautiful painting which became the centre of attraction among the participants of the workshop.

A painting which is filled with emotions of a man who dared to fight his fate after being   imprisoned to his bed for years, seeing only the barren roof and dirty walls of a dark room. A painting that encouraged hundreds of young students to make creative interventions in the society, to add life to the days of many more who were in pain.

The first workshop made both us and the students realize the potential of the student community. Now they are the major players in many of the palliative care programs organized by the institute. They are organized under the banner ‘Students in Palliative Care’ (SIPC). The concrete task of the organisation is  to organise adequate and affordable support programs for the bed ridden, the incurably ill and the dying people in the city and to ensure the involvement of students in patient care and rehabilitation programs by mobilizing local community, volunteers, material and financial resources.

On a personal note, I feel blessed to be the facilitator for these young change makers and it is unquestionably one of the best things happened to me.

Some initiatives by SIPC

·        Project ‘Footprints’
A project aimed at the social and economical rehabilitation of the chronically ill. Here the  patients are brought to the camps arranged at Institute of Palliative Medicine where they learn various skills including painting, art work, clay modeling, making paper bags, ornaments, flowers and umbrellas.
The team members supply raw materials and arrange support system for marketing.
The organization sees “Footprints” as a way to encourage patients to active life. It is interesting to see the students staying with the patients , even taking them to the wash rooms.

·        “Kayyoppu”
A signature campaign organized to brighten the days of patients who are suffering by creating awareness on palliative care and raising resources from the community.
The campaign was organized from January 1st – 15th, 2010. Over one lakh people expressed solidarity by endorsing their names. The campaign also conducted a week long cultural extravaganza that concluded on January 20th, 2010 with a night of musical fusion by Mattannoor Shankaran Kutty , the famous percussionist from Kerala. The campaign raised a sum of Rs. Two lakh for the pain and palliative care society in the city.

·        A seminar – “Palliative care in campus”
On February 20th, 2010, nearly 700 students from various colleges in the city gathered at providence Women’s College, Kozhikode, Kerala to pledge support for developing palliative care initiatives in the city. Students discussed and planned to launch the project 10/10 - volunteers will spend 10 minutes per day for patient care/homecare/rehabilitation activities/awareness creation ( They can spend one our per week instead of 10 minutes per day) and raise 10 rupee for palliative care /day.

SIPC is now a broad platform of the vibrant young generation battling for the construction of an integral and empathetic society. The organization is emerging as a silent social revolution by the young, amidst the present day youth which believes progress can only be portrayed in the form of giant glass malls. The organization believes in the eternal power which comes out of the unconditional and hearty human relations. SIPC stands united to constructively envisage change.

It is exciting to watch those young students discovering their passion themselves and enjoying the deeper meaning of life. The simple philosophy that drives the force is ‘give n take’.

"We are like banana plants which keep falling as they grow. These students support us to keeps us straight and firm", said Mr. Kumaran, a paraplegic and an inmate of the rehabilitation camp by project footprints, as the students were helping him to the cab on his way to home after the residential camp . His bright smile said it all.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Project 'Footprints' - where there's Life there's Hope

Project “Footprints” is the  rehabilitation project by Institute of Palliative Medicine, Kozhikode , Kerala, aimed at the social and economical rehabilitation of the chronically ill patients in the city 

Here the patients are brought to the camps arranged in the institute where they learn various skills including painting, art work, clay modeling, making paper bags, ornaments, flowers, umbrellas etc
The team members supply raw materials and arrange support system for marketing.
The organization sees “Footprints” as a way to encourage patients to active life.

Inmates at the camp with the student volunteers
 'Students in Palliative care' ( SIPC), a palliative care  initiative by the student community in the city, with the concrete task of organizing adequate and affordable support programs for the bed ridden, the incurably ill and the dying people in the City, ensure the involvement of students in supporting and caring the patients in the camp

Monday, February 28, 2011

The smile that signaled my road ahead

Mani whom I affectionately call Maniyettan (Ettan means elder brother in Malayalam) fortunately or unfortunately is the reason for me to start my journey through the spirited path of palliation.

I still remember those childhood days when Maniyettan used to get me chocolates from the shop near by my home, how he used to hold my hands during those brisk evening walks through the green field to the river which flows through the village.

Life turned dark for him as he lost is father and he was forced to take up the responsibility of his mother and younger sister.He had to stop his education in the primary classes itself and work hard as a daily laborer to make both ends meet.He had to approach the local money lenders to make sure that there was sufficient money to arrange for his sister's Marriage.

Life turned even worse when he himself got married in a very early age to take care of his old mother. A year after his marriage Maniyatten kissed his pregnant wife good bye as he decided to go abroad to earn ample money as he was even finding it difficult to earn the daily bread for the family.

Maniyatten with a heart full of dreams was shattered as he was not able to find a promising job abroad.The deserts could only drain him worse.the news about the birth of his son filled in hope and he decided to stay back dreaming of the day he will be flying back home with lots of love and gifts for his baby boy.

The happiness didn't last long. few days later he heard the news that his sister with her two children were back home separated from her husband which mentally broke his mother.Maniyettan somehow wanted to be with his family to support them, but it remained a mirage. The totally depressed Maniyettan started falling ill.On the fifth year of his stay at abroad his health was so worse that his friends on the instruction of his doctor had to help him fly back home.

He was taken to a private hospital which was one hour drive from his home. The two major surgeries made him half dead. Maniyettan along with his family stayed in the hospital just to hear that "Sorry, Nothing more can be done".With unbearable pain he was shifted to the Medical College where he was diagnosed cancer at its secondary stage. Discharged from the Medical College he was taken to his home to just get stuck to his bed, counting his days as if in hell.

I took few days off from my college to get back home so that I could spend some time with him. On my way to his home I found a vehicle near to the gate on which it was written 'Palliative Care Home Care Team' something which I never heard before.

Maniyettan was sitting on his bed leaning to the pillow placed between his cot and the wall next to it.He was smiling through his pain to those wonderful team caring him.That smile made me understand the essence of palliative care in its most powerful way.I could see the added life to his days. That smile signaled me my road ahead.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saifnotes: The forest department, Government of Kerala d...


The forest department, Government of Kerala d...
: "The forest department, Government of Kerala dedicated the ‘SWANTHANA VANAM’ (Palliative Forest) to the patients at the Instit..."

The forest department, Government of Kerala dedicated the ‘SWANTHANA VANAM’ (Palliative Forest) to the patients at the Institute of Palliative Medicine. The Minister of the department handed over the token of dedication to Dr. Suresh Kumar, Director, Institute of Palliative Medicine in the presence of a gathering which had people from diverse walks of life. Palliative Forest is a joint venture by the department and the Institute of Palliative Medicine to ensure that those who are in pain, both physically and mentally, out of chronic and incurable illnesses are touched by the divine greenery of the nature. The venture is a humble attempt      to take them through the green road of palliation.

The dedication function was itself special, unique and the first of its kind ever. The stage was completely left for those special people who were on their wheel chairs since years but managed to be at the fore front of life by very daringly fighting their fate. The guests including the Minister sat among the audience. The function humbly and unanimously declared that forests are not WILD but they are pleasingly PALLIATING… 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Saifnotes: "Swanthana Vanam" ( Palliative forest")

Saifnotes: "Swanthana Vanam" ( Palliative forest"): "Forest Department , Government of Kerala is to dedicate 'Swanthana Vanam' (' Palliative forest') to the incurably and chronically ill..."

"Swanthana Vanam" ( Palliative forest")

Forest Department , Government of Kerala is to dedicate "Swanthana Vanam" (" Palliative forest") 
to the incurably and chronically ill patients at Institute of Palliative Medicine.

It is a humble attempt of the department along with the Institute of Palliative Medicine to ensure that those in pain are touched by the palliation of the nature, the divine greenery

The initiative will be inaugurated by the honorable minister Sri. Binoy Vishwam on 26 February 2011Institute of Palliative Medicine, Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala, India

Saifnotes: Local Heroes !!!

Saifnotes: Local Heroes !!!

Local Heroes !!!