Al Ain, 18 October, 2009: Tawam Hospital, in affiliation with John Hopkins medicine, the primary oncology care center in the UAE, joined with thousands of people across the world to support the World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on Sunday, October 11. The supporters made themselves heard as part of a global campaign to raise awareness of caring for people who have a terminal illness.
The theme of this year’s event, was ‘Discovering Your Voice’, which brought people together through song, poetry, plays and recitals to celebrate the successes of palliative care in some areas and call for action to be taken in those places where it is lacking.
Tawam Hospital is owned and operated by SEHA, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company which is responsible for the curative activities of the public hospitals and clinics of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Tawam Hospital’s CEO, Michael E. Heindel said the carers of the terminally ill are often overlooked heroes. “There is an enormous strength in the people who look after patients with a life-limiting illness, whether they are a professional carer, a member of the family, or even a concerned friend. That care can take away pain and suffering on a physical and emotional level and we must all try to make sure that it is available wherever possible.”
Hospice and palliative care improves the quality of life of people affected by life-threatening illness such as cancer and AIDS, by preventing and relieving suffering through pain and symptom control, emotional, practical and spiritual support.
The day was aimed at those affected by terminal illnesses including patients, family members, carers, healthcare professionals, policy makers and fund raisers so that they could raise awareness and funds for hospice and palliative care services across the globe.
“As the number one cancer treatment center in the country, we understand completely the need for increased dignity and privacy while patients undergo their treatments. Our new clinic and infusion center allows us to expand the number of patients we can offer chemotherapy to as well as maintaining privacy in a calm and relaxed atmosphere,” added Michael E. Heindel.
A ‘Voices for Hospices’ event, which saw a wave of simultaneous concerts around the world, also raised money to improve the quality of life for patients with life-threatening illnesses, including countries where hospice and palliative care services are under-developed.
The first ever World Hospice and Palliative Care Day took place in October 2005 with more than 1,100 events taking place in 74 countries. It was launched by HRH Princess Anne in London, and supported by Archbishop Desmond Tutu who described it as “an important global event”. In 2006, Bono and Sir Elton John marked the event by expressing their support for hospice care; in 2007 Dame Judi Dench added her voice to the campaign. In 2008, the UN rapporteur on the right to the highest attainable standard of health and the actor Gabriel Byrne offered their support.