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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 95 - Monday March 26, 2007
Ross U and government offers training in caring for cancer and aids patients
Ross University Press Release


Portsmouth, Dominica -- Ministry of Health statistics show that from 1990 to 2000 cancer was the 2nd leading cause of death in Dominica. In 2003, 121 people died from cancer and in 2004, 125. For many cancer patients who present in advanced stages of the disease the only treatment option may be pain relief and palliative care.

According to the World Health Organization 80% of people with cancer need palliative care as do approximately 50% of patients with AIDS. Such care improves the quality of life of patients and families facing life-threatening illnesses by providing pain relief and spiritual and psychosocial support. Palliative care is also useful early in the course of the illness and can be given along with other therapies that are intended to prolong life.

To help meet the need for health care workers who can supply this type of care Ross University joined with the Ministry of Health to sponsor a basic palliative care course. The course was held at the Public Service Training Center in Roseau on February 23rd and 24th.

Two of the speakers from this semesterís Ross Research Day were faculty members for the course. They were Dr. Dingle Spence from the Hope Institute in Kingston, Jamaica and Dr. Christian Furman from the University of Louisville in the U.S. Other faculty members were Dr. Griffin Benjamin, Director of Primary Health Care and Head, Department of Psychiatry at PMH; Dr. Diana Callender, Clinical Hematologist and Professor in ICM at Ross University; Ms. Jacqueline Douglas, M Ed Community Counseling, Counselor Ross University; and Mrs. Julie Frampton, FNP, National HIV/AIDS coordinator.

Chairs for the sessions were Dr. Paul Ricketts, National Epidemiologist; Mrs. Julie Frampton; Mr. Errol Thomas, Chief Pharmacist; Msgr. William John Lewis, Dean, Roseau Cathedral; and Dr. David Johnson, Chief Medical Officer.

The course was officially opened by Mr. Davis Letang, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health and Dr. Mary Coleman, Dean of Ross University. A reception followed the opening ceremony. Dr. Gerald Grell, Dean of Clinical and Academic affairs at Ross University gave the closing comments on Saturday afternoon.

Fridayís session covered a definition of palliative care, the scope of the problem in Dominica, and how to communicate bad news and negotiate the goals of care. On Saturday participants were instructed in pain management and control of symptoms from the disease or from the therapy.

Also covered was the issue of spirituality and how to help family members deal with bereavement and loss. Following the sessions, participants expressed their appreciation for the course and engaged in a lively discussion.

Approximately 70 health care workers attended the sessions on each day. Consultants from Anesthetics, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, and Psychiatry were present as well as several PMH junior physicians and Ross faculty members.

Among the health care workers who attended were district medical officers, district nurses and nurse practitioners, community health workers, mental health workers, and pharmacists from villages throughout the country who gave up a Saturday off to learn how to better care for patients and their families from diagnosis to bereavement.

Upon return to their jobs many of the participants will organize training courses to share their knowledge with colleagues who could not attend.

Contact Marilyn Sullivan Phone: (767) 255 6365; Email: msullivan@rossmed.edu.dm

Comments about this article? Email:
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thedominican.net
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Volume No. 1 Issue No. 94
Chavez visits Dominica
History of Zouk
Carnival Fire
My wayward friend
The greenest island



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