MD Residency in Palliative Medicine (MD Residency)

Participant eligibility: MBBSS

Course duration and time: 5 years (Phase A- 2 years and Phase B- 3 years)

Course fees: According to the rule of BSMMU


Introduction to the Palliative Medicine Residency Program

Palliative Care is a new discipline in Modern Medicine but also is as old as medicine itself. Put most simple, it is a response to suffering, an effort to relieve suffering of any kind. It particularly addresses the problems of patients with incurable life limiting diseases. The knowledge and skills in symptom relief, emotional support and the holistic attitude towards patient that the palliative care physician should possess are of use in addressing other patients also. Literature in medicine and health policy shows the need for knowledge and skills in palliative care for all doctors as part of their basic skills. This is especially so in view of the ongoing global transition of disease pattern from communicable to non-communicable. Nevertheless, it needs to be acknowledged that the expansion of Palliative care service, education, training and research is more confined to the affluent part of the world and much less so in the less privileged globe where probably it is needed more. Bangladesh is no exception to that. The country is estimated to have 1 million patients with cancer at any point of time along with an equal number of patients with other incurable diseases like progressive neurological diseases, end stage kidney failure, multi drug resistant tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs and severe stroke etc. Bangladesh also has a rapidly increasing population of elderly in the last phase of their life. Many of these patients live in pain suffer with a number of physical symptoms, emotional problems along with medical and social isolation. Doctors in Bangladesh do not get exposed to palliative medicine in their undergraduate medical schooling. This has left gaps in knowledge and skills in their ability to handle difficult physical symptoms or emotional issues of this group of patients and their families, more so during the end-of-life care.

A significant breakthrough in introducing and developing palliative care in the country took place when the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) decided to introduce Palliative Care Service in 2007. The initial service model has been transformed into a “Centre for Palliative Care (CPC)” in 2011 accepting a pioneer role incorporating short and mid-term training programs. The university has also shown keen interest to encourage developing a postgraduate Curriculum in Palliative Medicine. A post graduate Medical Curriculum in Palliative medicine suitable for the country and in accordance with the University post graduate residency program at par with other disciplines is a strong timely step forward towards achieving the goal of incorporating palliative care in the main stream health care program of the country. In the meantime, in 2013 the Centre has been awarded a grant by the University Grant Commission (UGC) of Bangladesh (as a part of the Higher Education Quality Enhancement Program in different Universities of the country). Besides organizing a number of training programs and developing a National Resource Centre for Palliative Care in the country, the final milestone of the project is to develop a Curriculum in Palliative Medicine for the university before the end of March 2014.