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Indian palliative care volunteer receives award at regional lung cancer conference

Aditya Manna, a young Indian palliative care volunteer, was recently awarded the Travel Grant Award at this year’s Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference (APLCC 2016), organised by the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), held in Chiang Mai, Thailand, from 13-15 May 2016.

Lung cancer experts from several countries in the Asia-Pacific region with a wide range of expertise spanning prevention, treatment, research and care and support fields participated in the event. They were joined by noted lung cancer experts from around the world.

Speaking on this award which brought him much recognition about his important work, Aditya said: “I am happy to work for an organisation which relieves the suffering of cancer patients.

“Volunteering has always been fundamental to the palliative care movement and extending compassion and expanding the range of services by caregivers is vital.”

Aditya reaches the home of terminally ill cancer patients on bike, bus or train, using whatever transportation is available to serve those patients who need palliative care.

The services that they require may be draining of pleural or ascitic fluid, feeding through Ryle’s tube, catheterization, IV fluids or dressing of wounds among other things.

He attends on terminally ill patients at any time of the day or night.

Aditya related the tragic situation of cancer patients who had at times tried to commit suicide to avoid unbearable pain.

Such incidents had motivated him to dedicate himself more to support and educate such patients, family members and neighbours in whatever manner he could.

After finishing his schooling and college education amidst many difficulties, Aditya joined MAS Clinic and Hospital in Tamluk town, which now has a small oncology unit, a dialysis unit and an ICU, apart from other common treatment facilities available. At present he is working in the Oncology Unit of this hospital as a palliative care staff member.

“In order to achieve our mission, we believe that scientific research should be available along with good public policy and strong advocacy,” he said.

Aditya is happy working in the dynamic program at his hospital that educates employees about the nature of palliative care and empowers the staff, as well as volunteers, grantees, doctors and cancer survivors in the rural district of West Bengal, to be proactive.

Though challenging, he says his work is exceptionally rewarding, and it lifts his spirit when providing necessary encouragement and empowerment  to the people he works with.

Aditya’s areas of specialty include: counseling, organising and facilitating training, and providing support services for people with advanced disease.

As a clinical social worker, he has worked for more than 10 years in this field, and hopes to build a programme that meets the unique needs of people with advanced disease.

He says he had met amazing, passionate and dedicated people in his journey of helping these cancer patients. They have all generously given their very precious time and knowledge which had inspired him to continue to enhance his knowledge and practice in palliative care.

He remembers with gratitude Dr Shymal Kumar Sarkar, Dr Aditya Narayan Sen, Dr Dipankar Bhattacharya, Dr Lalit Kumar Khanra, Dr Bhabani Prasad Bhattacharya, Dr Atin Banerjee, his teachers Gouranga Dolai and Asit Baran Manna, all the staff at MAS Clinic and Hospital, his family members, cancer patients and their family members and his best friends Ananda and Bikash including Munu (Sampati).

“I am especially grateful to Dr Dipankar Bhattacharya, Director of our Hospital, who encouraged me to carry this work inspite of my hospital duties without clipping my wings,” said Aditya.

According to Aditya, the Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference achieved it goal of spreading awareness sharing of knowledge on new development on the subject.

Palliative care and cancer is a highly sensitive subject and deserves extensive study, so that remarkable progress on the matter can be achieved to reduce pain, suffering and other allied symptoms of cancer.

Aditya said: “The sharing of knowledge and experience occasioned by this conference may lead to innovative ideas with respect to cancer care and also will be helpful for caregivers and volunteers like me.”

You can read more about Aditya’s work on ehospice, and find out more about the Asia Pacific Lung Cancer Conference online. 


Global Partners in Care Announces First Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership in India

Global Partners in Care Announces First Hospice and Palliative Care Partnership in India.

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2014

Hospice of Kankakee Valley Teams Up With Narikeldaha Prayas of Moyna, West Bengal, a Partnership Brought Together Through Global Partners in Care

(Alexandria, Va) – Global Partners in Care is pleased to announce their first U.S. and India hospice and palliative care partnership – Hospice of Kankakee Valley of Bourbonnais, Illinois, and Narikeldaha Prayas of Moyna, West Bengal.   The two organizations will work together to expand access to hospice and palliative care in the local region where Narikeldaha Prayas is located.

“We are blessed to be in a position to give back to the local community and the hospice community in the world,” said Hospice of Kankakee Valley Executive Director Kevin Turner.  “Partnering with Narikeldaha Prayas allows us to extend our mission to provide compassionate physical, emotional, spiritual and social support to terminally ill individuals and their families.”

Narikeldaha Prayas located in Moyna, West Bengal provides rural home home-based palliative care for terminal cancer patients.  Through the partnership with Hospice of Kankakee Valley, the organization will gain exposure to various palliative care activities outside of India that will enhance the services they provide to their patients.

“We chose to partner with Narikeldaha Prayas because of the stunning similarities of our mission statements,” said Hospice of Kankakee Valley Social Worker, Rachel Zajicek.  “Something which I think is pretty incredible given the fact that on a basic level our cultures are so different and yet on a very specific issue (providing comfort care), our missions are so similar.”

Hospice of Kankakee Valley, located 60 miles south of Chicago, serves six counties surrounding Kankakee, IL. The organization started as a volunteer hospice in 1983 and has grown from those roots to a hospice that serves over 600 patients per year. 

 “We are thrilled to include Hospice of Kankakee Valley and Narikeldaha Prayas among the 80 U.S. and international hospice and palliative care organizations and international partnerships,” says Global Partners in Care Executive Director, John Mastrojohn. “The two organizations are pioneering our efforts in India and we are eager to establish more partnerships in India and other countries.”  

Global Partners in Care’s innovative partnership initiative provides opportunities for U.S. hospice and palliative care organizations to make a commitment to support a hospice and palliative care organization in a developing country.  A large percentage of the global need for palliative care is in low and middle income countries. 

At this time Global Partners in Care has hospice and palliative care organizations in Africa and India waiting to be partnered with an organization in the U.S. 

To learn more about international partnership opportunities and other ways to support Global Partners in Care, please visit the website at


About Global Partners in Care

Global Partners in Care is an affiliate of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. Its mission is building partnerships to enhance compassionate care globally and its vision is a world where individuals and families facing serious illness, death, and grief will experience the best that humankind can offer.

Anita Brikman
Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications


India Partner Visits the U.S. (click for details )

Staff from Narikeldaha Prayas Make Their First Trip to Visit U.S. Partner Despite being thousands of miles apart, Narikeldaha Prayas of West Bengal, and Hospice of Kankakee Valley(HKV) located in Illinois, share a common mission and deal with similar challenges. In October, Dr. Shyamal Sarkar and Aditya Manna traveled from India to visit HKV to learn more about HKV’s operation and share their own information. The two organizations quickly learned that they are working towards the same goal-provide compassionate, comfort care at the end-of-life. “The need is the same, the culture and the environment is different (but) the medicine is more or less the same,” says Dr. Sarkar. The two organizations developed a partnership through Global Partners in Care in 2014 and have been communicating through email at least twice a month. The October trip was the first in-person meeting. During their visit, Dr. Sarkar and Aditya spent time learning from their partner about disease specific training, documentation, and the importance of the interdisciplinary approach of hospice care. When asked what information Dr. Sarkar found most beneficial, he named several things and was particularly impressed with HKV’s documentation system. “The details are fantastic,” says Dr. Sarkar. “Our documentation needs to be improved a lot.” Narikeldaha Prayas service area includes two to three districts in West Bengal. Their average daily census is 500 patients. With only 21 volunteer staff members, it is only possible to see two to four patients per day. Dr. Sarkar hopes that their partnership with HKV will help strengthen their volunteer numbers. “HKV is a very serious partner,” says Dr. Sarkar. “Their activity [partnership] will give us new points to manage our patients at home.” In addition to spending time with their partner in Illinois, Dr. Sarkar and Aditya traveled with Rachel Zajicek, lead social w

Compassion and service – IJPN volunteer of the year

Aditya Manna, President of the Indian NGO, Narikeldaha Prayas, was awarded first place at the International Journal of Palliative Nursing (IJPN) awards in the category Service User/Carer/Volunteer of the Year. He writes for ehospice about the important work that brought about this recognition.

I am a volunteer in palliative care for terminal cancer patients in rural India. Volunteering has always been fundamental to the palliative care movement.

It is vital in extending compassion and expanding the range of services on offer to those living with a terminal illness and their caregivers.

An ordinary village

I was born in an ordinary village in West Bengal, India, about 135km from Kolkata where sanitary facilities such as proper drinking water were not available. The village had no electricity, houses were of mud walls with thatched straw rooves.

People had no means of transportation except their own legs on muddy ‘kachha’ roads. In the rainy season, even those kachha roads would be submerged and people have to move about on banana stem rafts.

Though the conditions have improved now, it is not much different from what they were when I was born. My village saw electricity only last year.

In spite of these deficiencies and difficulties, I loved and still love my village.

My studies and current work

After finishing my school and college education under much difficulty I joined Tamralipta Health Home, a private nursing home in the nearby town of Tamluk.

I worked there for five years, before joining MAS Clinic and Hospital in the same town, which now has a small cancer unit, a small dialysis unit and a small ICU, apart from other common treatment facilities.

At present I am working in the oncology unit of this hospital as part of the palliative care staff. We also run a non-profit organization, Narikeldaha Prayas of which I am the president.

A day in my working life

My daily routine consist of getting up between 3 to 5am early in the morning, and taking a bike or bus or train whatever transportation is available to reach the home of a terminal patient who needs some kind of palliative care.

This may include draining of pleural or ascitic fluid, feeding through Ryle’s tube, catheterization, IV fluids, dressing, etc.

As well as this, I also attend terminally ill patients who needs some kind of palliative care at any time of the day or night.

Over the last seven to eight years I have made about 3000 home visit for this type of care. Apart from this, we are available for telephonic communication with these patients from our nodal centre 24 hours a day.

Some sad things

I would like to bring to notice some of the sad and unfortunate things I have come across over these years during such visits.

I have come across patients who tried to end their life by hanging or by taking overdose of sedative medication. I saw a patient who cut his growing tumour with a kitchen knife. And I have seen of such patients suffering utter neglect from their family members and neighbours.

Such incidents have inspired me to dedicate myself to do whatever possible through patient support, patient education, educating and motivating the family members and neighbours through whatever means available.

Narikeldaha Prayas

Narikeldaha Prayas as a palliative care organisation in our local community in India is working with all types of advanced cancer. In order to achieve our mission, we believe that scientific progress must be complemented by sound public policy and advocacy.

The organisation works with our staff, volunteers, grantees, doctors and cancer survivors in our rural district of West Bengal. It also provides affordable cancer palliative care services as per local requirement and availability. 

I am thrilled to be part of this dynamic program that educates employees in their workplace about palliative care and empowers them to be proactive.

This work, and all the work at Prayas, is challenging. It is for a great purpose and is incredibly rewarding for me.  

It is greatly rewarding for me to be able to work with cancer patients and volunteers and to give them the necessary encouragement and information.

I'm happy to work for an organisation that helps people cope at a very difficult time in their lives.

A wonderful group

My areas of particular interest include counseling, organising, training, and support services for people with advanced disease. As a clinical social worker, I have worked more than 10 years in this field, and I hope to build a program that meets the unique needs of people with advanced disease.

I have started Prayas which includes myself, my friends, survivors and their relatives and some volunteers most of whom work part-time.

This is a wonderful group and I love working with them. We were able to conduct educational programmes, awareness programmes and meetings for people with cancer, and cancer survivors' meetings. We have also increased our community support and efforts.  

Now I am able to work with a wonderfully dedicated staff to enrich all our programs with increased diversity. Prayas continues to amaze me with all the love, support and hope we bring daily to advanced stage cancer patients and their families and friends.

The best of everything

I have spent much of my career and volunteer time advocating for hope, support and empowerment to people affected by cancers. I had the best of everything – the best advice in every little step starting from the surgery and going through chemo, radiation and recovery, and I had the best support I could ever have.  

I was fortunate to get the best of everything including the best advice, best surgeons, expert oncologist advising chemo recitation, etc. and I was exactly the right place at the right time.

Lastly I would like to thank all the amazing, passionate and dedicated people I have met in my journey. They have all given their very precious time and knowledge generously and in doing so they have inspired me to continue and enhance my knowledge and practice of palliative care.

To find out more about Narikeldaha Prayas, contact Aditya.

Read more about the IJPN awards on their website