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The International Association for the Study of Pain’s curriculum for pain education among doctors would suit our purpose very well. We just had to ‘Indianise’ it. We worked on incorporating India-centred anecdotes in the delivery of lectures to drive home the points effectively. Appropriating others’ ideas and tinkering it to suit the local palate has a bit of a history in India. We have done it to the Chinese in the form of Chicken Manchurian.
The young science of pain management has come far in less than three decades of its existence. It has gained importance in recent years, as lifestyle changes bring along aches and pains that interfere with day to day activities. Its practitioners, though happy with the development of the discipline, feel that the stress now should be on designing courses on the subject and on more research.
Dr. P.Vijayanand, Director, Axon Pain Management Center, Hyderabad & Convener, Traveling Pain School explains the need to introduce pain medicine in the undergraduate curriculum. 20% of Indians suffer from persistent non-cancer pain, whereas the skilled medical force to treat the pain-related problems is sparse. The Essential Pain Management project provides a simple framework for managing pain effectively. The Traveling Pain School intends to teach 3000 medical students in 2014, with plans to scale it up to 10,000 medical students a year in 5 years time. Towards this ideal, Traveling Pain School has trained 25 pain specialists across the country to train and teach the undergraduate students.
Dr. Roger Goucke, EPM Committee, Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists explains the Essential Pain Management programme. EPM has been run successfully across 30 countries in the world. The condensed version of the programme would be used to teach the undergraduates. To manage pain well is important as there many benefits to the society in doing so. Better quality of life, shortened hospital stay, work place issues and dignity at the end of life are to name a few. Essential Pain Management focuses on non-drug as well as drug treatments. The medicines which the students would be taught to use are non-expensive and easily available in India.
Dr. Muralidhar Joshi, Director, Kamineni Pain Management Center, Hyderabad & Convener, Traveling Pain School explains the importance of treating pain in terms of improved quality of life. After infectious diseases, the commonest condition the young doctor has to manage when he starts practice is pain. As our life span increases, we are more prone to cancer, heart disease and pain. The doctors should be trained enough to meet this challenge facing the country. In addition to doctors, other allied-health professionals such as nurses and physiotherapists should also be trained to improve the quality of life in our country.
Dr. Linda Huggins, Palliative Medicine Specialist, Auckland, New Zealand informs that the condensed version of Essential Pain Management used to teach undergraduates is introduced outside New Zealand for the first time in India. The pressure on the curriculum hours along with the attention span of the young student meant that the teaching has to be condensed and precise. The Essential Pain management for undergraduates is of four-and-half hour duration.
Dr. S. M. Patil, Principal, Kamineni Institute of Medical Sciences & Research elaborates on the curriculum for medical undergraduates and the ways to implement systematic teaching of pain. Plans are in place to represent to the board of studies of Dr. N.T.R. Health University to take pain education forward.
Dr. B. B. Mishra, Vice President, Indian Society for Study of Pain, explains that access to pain relief is a fundamental human right. There are islands of excellence in India, but what is needed is uniform standards across the country where pain is managed effectively. That standard should be one of multi-modal and multi-disciplinary approach.