In 2020 during the crisis of COVID-19 pandemic on the eve of World Hospice Palliative Care Day 2020”, Hospice Bangladesh”, Aastha Foundation and World Child Cancer (WCC) jointly organized a series of virtual awareness program. In 2020, the proposed theme of this day is “Palliative Care: it’s “My Care, My Comfort”.

Hospice Bangladesh tried to celebrate the day to keep the restriction of mass gathering in this COVID-19 crisis. The program was designed for 3 days making into different segment.

This program is designed especially for doctors, nurses, volunteers, family care givers to encourage them, to motivate them as they play very important role in patient care.

At very beginning on 8th October Thursday about 8pm to 9pm (BD time) the first session on Palliative Care in Cancer was held. Another session was held on 10th October.

In first session, two renowned oncologist Prof Dr. Akram Hossain from Square Hospital Ltd and Dr. Ashim Kuma Shengupta from United Hospital Ltd talked on this topic. Dr. Sazia Afrin moderated the program. With their discussion, question and answer various important point regarding cancer and palliative care had been come out. 

Prof Dr, Syed Akram Hossain Sir gave a short presentation on the topic “Palliative Care in Cancer”. In this presentation he presented important information on this topic and emphasized the importance of palliative care for cancer from the beginning of the treatment. In the answer of a question Dr Ashim Shengupta said that in our country we need to create more awareness and we have to progress with accurate plan to implement “Universal Health Coverage”. “We need palliative Care Unit with Cancer Department in every govt and private Hospital and Govt should come forward” -Dr. Ashim Kumar also added.

In second and last session of Palliative Care in Cancer, another two renowned oncologist Prof Dr, Zafor Md Masud, Head of Oncology Dept, Bangladesh Medical College Hospital and Dr. Ferdous Shahriar, Senior Consultant, Oncology Dept, Evercare Hospital Ltd. were present.

In Question and answer session, Prof. Zafor Md. Masud said that there is lack of awareness among doctors regarding palliative care what we need to increase and he also said that palliative care is a community based service ,so to develop it community should come forward. Dr. Shahriar urged that there must be some basic course of palliative care for every oncologist and also this topic need to include in MBBS Curriculum. 

In 2 days session, four oncologists said same that palliative care is very important from the beginning of the diagnosis of cancer and we need to increase the awareness through different awareness program.

On 9th October, session for pediatric palliative care was held at morning. Prof. Zohora Jameela Khan, Professor, Pediatric Hemato-oncology Dept, DMCH & Prof. Dr. AKM Amirul Morshed Khasru, Additional Director General (Admin), Directorate General of Medical Education, Ministry of Health & Family Affairs were the guests of that program. Dr. Khasru sir was previously working as the Head of Pediatric Hematology & Oncology of Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

Prof. Dr. Jameela Khan presented the topic “Pediatric Palliative Care in Bangladesh”. In her presentation she shared different important aspect on this topic including epidemiology of pediatric cancer in Bangladesh, psycho-social and spiritual concerns for child cancer patient etc. She also told that professionals who are engaged in this profession need self-care to reduce the mental stress that arise during treatment of a child. In Q & A session Dr. Amir Khasru explained the present treatment scenario of Pediatric cancer in Bangladesh and importance of palliative care for them. He also said that only Dhaka Medical college hospital has it’s separate Pediatric palliative Care Unit. 

Prof. Dr. Zohora Jameela Khan said that in our country we have no appointed counselor for proper counseling of patient family. There is huge difference between adult and pediatric palliative care. For children counseling for parents is a big challenge. Both Pediatric oncologist said that they are hopeful about the progress of pediatric palliative care in Bangladesh as through various awareness program more people now know about it than few years ago.