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Dean Foundation scouting for corporate support

S. Gopikrishna Warrier

Since its inception in October 1999, the foundation has taken care of 402 terminally ill patients. Of them 301 have been cancer patients.

CHENNAI, Dec. 4

DEAN Foundation, the city-based palliative care centre that works to give dignity to the dying, is on the look out for corporate support to sustain its activities.

According to the Managing Trustee of Dean Foundation, Ms Deepa Muthayya, though a few companies have come forward with assistance, there is a need for a greater involvement so that the foundation can be sustainable.

The foundation has received support from ICICI, HDFC, State Bank of India, Sun Pharmaceuticals and N.E.G. Micon, she said.

Since its inception in October 1999, the foundation has taken care of 402 terminally ill patients. Of them 301 have been cancer patients.

"We believe in giving dignity to the patients and empowering their families," she said. The care is provided by the foundation's team of doctor and nurse at the homes of the patients.

"Some donors have been motivated by the fact that we are able to provide free service at patient's homes," she said.

The idea, according to Ms Muthayya, is to provide the needed medical attention to the patients. The foundation has also been promoting alternative treatment methods for those who ask for it. For instance, practitioners of traditional Tibetan medicines have been meeting and dispensing medicines to patients. The practitioners travel from Bangalore on specified days to treat patients.

According to her, the concept of palliative care is at its early stages in the country, with not many institutions were providing such care. There are very few institutions that provide training and almost no Indian books on the subject.

The Foundation gets its training from institutions identified by the World Health Organisation. To empower the family members of the patients to handle some of the medical care activities, appropriate training is passed on to them, she said.

However, the major effort is to educate the family members on the disease and modes of treatment and care that is available. This empowers them to take informed choices about the various options regarding treatment modes.

At present most of the cases that the foundation handles is within the city, though at times it has reached up to the nearby urban centres.

According to Ms Muthayya, the aim is to be able to reach the entire State, by collaborating with the existing Government medical infrastructure.

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