The partnership program matches western institutions with one or more institutions in developing countries for the purpose of developing long-term relationships involving multiple expert visits (mostly to the developing country) designed to address identified needs. Such partnerships will include a variety of health professionals, including oncologists, nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, pathologists and even administrators and will encompass mutually conducted research projects when possible.
A radiation oncologist from the University of Lund spent 3 months working with staff at the Cancer Institute, Chennai in order to evaluate the education and training needs at the institute and to provide on-site education as needed.
As part of its overall palliative care initiative in Nepal, INCTR’s PAX program began visiting BPKMCH located in Bharatpur in order to support the institution in its palliative care activities. In 2007, BPKMCH expressed their wish to develop a twinning program with another hospice in order to guide them with the expansion of patient care services, education and research, and to introduce home/community based palliative services. The Co-Director of INCTR PAX who is also the Medical Director of Victoria Hospice formed a steering committee to set up the twinning program. This program provides mutual benefits through the transfer and exchange of knowledge and expertise in palliative care. In addition, funds have also been raised to help to support patient care and to make further education available for healthcare professionals at BPKMCH.
During a PAX team visit to the Bhaktapur Cancer Care Hospital (BCCH), the medical staff at the center expressed a need to learn and implement palliative care. Without financial support it was considered that the program at BCCH would have limited success. Upon learning of the visit, members of the Nanaimo palliative care community arranged a twinning partnership between Nanaimo’s Mid Island Hospice and BCCH. The goal was to provide long-term support for the center. The Nanaimo community has provided modest and reliable financial support for the BCCH palliative care program – initially for staff and later for a ward dedicated to palliative care. It has also been able to send funds to provide morphine for patients who cannot afford it. Yearly site visits are made and the focus of the visits has been to teach practical skills related to palliative care. The partnership has been on-going for 3 years and has been renewed for another 3 years. This partnership was built on and has supported the work of the INCTR PAX Program and is increasing the sustainability of palliative care in Nepal.