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Jakarta Post

A defining moment

  • Stevie Emilia

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Wed, June 10, 2015   /  11:28 am
A defining moment

Ramaswamy Akhileswaran - JP/Stevie Emilia

Palliative care is still a work in progress in Indonesia. A newly launched three-year training project to improve palliative care in Jakarta aims to change that.

The Enhancing Palliative Care Practice project, launched in January this year by the Singapore International Foundation (SIF), is jointly conducted with the Indonesia Cancer Foundation in Jakarta (YKI DKI) and the nonprofit organization the Rachel House, which has provided free palliative care for terminally ill poor children in Indonesia since it was first set up in 2006.

As part of the program, Singapore'€™s palliative care specialists, led by Singapore International Volunteers (SIV) team leader Ramaswamy Akhileswaran, will partner with medical professionals in Indonesia from 10 hospitals in Jakarta to improve care for terminally ill patients.

At the first workshop in February, more than 70 trainees were introduced to the principles of palliative care, symptom management and how to provide nursing care, such as managing pain, dressing wounds and addressing psychological issues of patients and caregivers. The next workshop is scheduled to take place in July.

'€œSIF'€™s program in Jakarta is important '€” to train the trainers. We hope the trainers are able to train more doctors, nurses and then the system will be in place to cater to these patients,'€ said Akhileswaran, who is also CEP and medical director of HCA Hospice Care in Singapore.

He said it would be best to start with home hospice care in Jakarta since it would allow nurses to see the patients in their homes. '€œYou can get communities to support them. You don'€™t have to always depend on others or the government for everything but you can get resources from the community,'€ he said.

SIF executive director Jean Tan said that for more than two decades, through the foundation'€™s many projects, Singapore and Indonesia have shared ideas, skills and resources for better change.

The foundation, she said, has had a good partnership with Rachel House from 2009 to 2012 that improved professional standards in pediatric palliative care.

'€œAnd we'€™re excited to start this palliative care program alongside the Indonesia Cancer Foundation,'€ Tan said.