The International Program for Psycho-Social Health Research (IPP-SHR), directed by CQU's Dr Pam McGrath, has joined forces with leading Indian cancer hospital, the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), to enhance palliative care services and to promote cancer prevention through community-based services.
The partnership aims to facilitate international sharing of ideas, knowledge and expertise through qualitative research co-operation, with particular focus on the areas of palliative care service delivery and community-based health promotion.
This partnership was consolidated in February 2006, when IPP-SHR's Program Manager, Hamish Holewa, visited Trivandrum, in the Southern Indian state of Kerala, to meet with Dr Thomas Koilparampil, a leading Indian oncologist, and his colleagues at the RCC.
As a result of this visit, IPP-SHR and the RCC, with funding provided by CQU's School of Nursing and Health Studies, are collaborating to complete two unique projects within the RCC's catchment area of Trivandrum, India.
The first of these projects is aimed at evaluating the end-of-life care currently provided by both the RCC's in-patient palliative care department and CarePlus, an innovative and holistic domiciliary service operated out of the RCC. Ultimately, this project strives to explore avenues that can better meet the complex needs of terminally ill patients and their families.
"The findings of this study can be used to inform ideas about best practice for other palliative care services, both within India, Australia and elsewhere," Mr Holewa said.
The second project aims to assess the effectiveness of community-based health promotion techniques as a means of providing citizens with health education, especially in the important area of cancer prevention.
This longitudinal project aims to harness well-established and sustainable community resources and infrastructure - in the form of Community Estate Management Committees that already exist throughout the Kerala region.
"It is hoped that this project will contribute to the development of more effective, community-driven methods of health promotion that can be adapted from the study's Indian context to the diverse circumstances of other developing and developed countries," Mr Holewa said.
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