THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a rare recognition, the Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), the flagship of national registered charitable trust Pallium India, has been declared as a collaborating centre of the World Health Organisation (WHO). A WHO Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) is an institution designated by the Director-General of WHO to carry out activities in support of the WHO’s programmes.
The WHOCC would form part of an inter-institutional collaborative network set up in inter-country, regional, inter-regional and global levels, as appropriate. The TIPS was informed of the new designation on February 28. The TIPS would now collaborate with WHO in the areas of ‘Training and Policy on Access to Pain Relief’.
“While we would not get any funds from the WHO, it gives us an opportunity to work along with many international agencies. It is also an honour for us that the WHO has recognised the quality of work being done here,” said Dr M R Rajagopal, chairman of Pallium India.
Dr Samlee Plianbangchang, Regional Director of the World Health Organisation, who informed TIPS of the new designation, had said that the period of collaboration is four years.
In his message to Pallium India, Willem Scholten, who leads the ‘Access to Controlled Medicines’ programme in World Health Organisations Headquarters in Geneva said, “The Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Medicine is an example for other pain centres and policy makers around the world. Unfortunately, very restricted access to pain medicines is rather the rule than the exception, like it used to be all over India in the past, but Kerala shows that it is possible to improve”.
Although there are over 800 WHO collaborating centres across the world, working in the areas of communicable diseases, nutrition, nursing, mental health, occupational health, chronic diseases and health technologies, there are very few in India, especially Kerala.
Earlier, the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Kozhikode had been chosen as a World Health Organisation Collaboration Centre for their work in community participation in palliative care.
The TIPS had been chosen to co-ordinate work in the areas of pain relief, especially access to pain relief and pain policy. Working towards improving access to pain relief in the rest of the country, Pallium India had been successful in initiating development of palliative care centres in eight North and North-Eastern states over the last five years, five of them in Regional Cancer Centres. TIPS has its office in Pattom, here and its patient services are based in the space provided by S U T Royal Hospital in Kochulloor here.