Kerala is the best place in India to die, says BBC!

Today, about 100 nurses, 50 doctors and 300 non-profits groups are involved in palliative care in Kerala. The movement in Kerala gained steam in the 1990s

All terminally ill patients have the right for good quality end-of-life care. Such patients should have access to palliative care, which focuses on managing pain and discomfort caused by serious illnesses like cancer, HIV and stroke.

Sadly in India, most people who need palliative care simply don’t get it and die in excruciating pain. The country is ranked 67 out of 80 countries in a study released last year comparing end-of-life care.

Kerala has more palliative care centres than the rest of the country put together!

However, our Kerala is an exception. Kerala has more palliative care centres than the rest of the country put together and its extensive programme is supported by thousands of volunteers who give up their time to help those who are terminally ill, bedridden or nearing the end of their lives. These volunteers assist specially trained physicians and nurses treating patients at home. They check for bedsores, deliver food, and often just listen and chat.

What makes Kerala unique is that morphine is available in Kerala’s hospitals and at homes for patients who need it.

Today, about 100 nurses, 50 doctors and 300 non-profits groups are involved in palliative care in Kerala. The movement in Kerala gained steam in the 1990s.

Photo by Atish Patel, BBC

Photo by Atish Patel, BBC

What makes Kerala unique is that morphine is available in Kerala’s hospitals and at homes for patients who need it. Morphine is the drug that is used to treat severe pain but is highly restricted in India over fears of addiction and misuse. ¬†Morphine is helpful for patients who are not terminally ill but suffer chronic pain.

In Kerala, access is vastly better because the state changed its narcotic regulations almost 20 years ago.

The irony is that India is the leading global producer of legal opium and almost all of it is exported to the West. In 2014, in what was seen as a major step forward, the parliament amended national law to simplify procedures for doctors to prescribe morphine, but it has so far had little impact on the ground, experts say.

Photo by Photo by Atish Patel, BBC

Photo by Photo by Atish Patel, BBC

In Kerala, access is vastly better because the state changed its narcotic regulations almost 20 years ago.

Although other states in India have largely failed to provide access to effective painkillers and palliative care, particularly in rural swathes, initiatives are slowly emerging outside of Kerala.

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