ASHIC Palliative Care Unit
Started in May 2006 with funding from the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and sanofi-aventis, under its My Child Matters campaign, the 9 bed ASHIC PCU is the first facility in Bangladesh to offer on- site palliative care to the terminally ill children, while it also aims to provide moral and spiritual support to the grieving parents. ASHIC was the only parent-run organization of the 14 recipients of the grant that year. Since then, ASHIC received two more rounds of funding, which helped to establish the PCU as the premier palliative care facility for pediatric oncology.
In 2013, the center was featured in a documentary titled Asian Women in Palliative Care, sponsored by The Lien Foundation under their After Cicely banner. Mrs. Salma Choudhury was honored for her work in establishing the first palliative care unit for pediatric oncology in all of Asia.
Palliative care is a growing area of medicine that manages the symptoms of terminally ill children. ASHIC PCU is a 9 bed facility with 24/7 access to an oncologist and trained medical professionals who can help treat acute issues.
Oftentimes, parents will be forced to deny their child palliative care because it is simply too expensive to transport them back home after their passing. The PCU combats this by educating parents on how to give palliative care to their child, from the comfort of their own home. Once parents are home they can access the medical staff at ASHIC via phone or they can go to the PCU for a follow up appointment and their cost for going back home will be covered by ASHIC. This reduces stress on both the patient and their parents, it also gives patients a more peaceful end of life.
In addition, depending on capacity and availability, the PCU also administers maintenance treatment to patients per prescribed protocol, as the national oncology centers are often over loaded and cannot treat a child on their needed schedule. The ASHIC capacity building has been particularly helpful for children with retinoblastoma as the prognosis for survival is very good if treatment is followed in a timely fashion.