Kerala Offers Model For Palliative Care In India

New York Times: In India, Dispensers of Balm Travel to Death’s Door
Ankita Rao, multimedia journalist

“…How can health systems offer the possibility of a dignified death to everyone? … [I]t took time for palliative care to become an official part of Kerala’s health system. That happened in 2008, when the state government declared such care a basic right. It allotted 10 percent of the state’s share of national health funding to that kind of care, mandating that each government hospital include a doctor and nurse trained in delivering it, and giving local panchayats, or groups of villages, control over their own programs. ‘Kerala’s model is now setting national standards,’ said Dr. Kamalakannan Ellangovan, the principal secretary of health for the state government. … Today, six million people in India need palliative care each year but only a tiny fraction — less than three percent — get it. … Sudhir Gupta, a director at the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in New Delhi, … said that only seven of India’s 36 states and union territories had been allocating funds for palliative care so far, but he expects that number to grow…” (1/12).