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Professor Richard Harding and Dr Ping Guo attended the launch of a new palliative care initiative in Oman

Researchers from the Cicely Saunders Institute attended the launch of a new palliative care initiative in the Sultanate of Oman. The event was opened by the Minister of Health, Dr Ahmed Al Saudi. In Oman, palliative care is still in its infancy. Many acute hospital beds have patients who would benefit from this specialised form of care to improve their quality of life.

Dr Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi_Minister of Health in Oman.
Dr Ahmed Mohammed Al Saidi, Minister of Health in Oman

The keynote speaker was Professor Richard Harding from the Centre for Global Health Palliative Care, Cicely Saunders Institute.

“The emphasis must always be on providing quality care and measuring outcomes. In Oman there will also need to be some changes in legislation relating to the availability of opioids used for pain control and place of death to allow patients to be treated more easily within the community.” commented Professor Harding.

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With WHO representatives. 

The team emphasised the importance of training and capacity building through international schemes such as the MSc in Palliative Care at King’s College London, a programme that trains students in the skills necessary to appraise research and evidence on palliative care, to improve their clinical practice and lead services.

Other contributors were Dr Zahid Al- Mandhari, Senior Oncology Consultant at the Royal Hospital, Dr Hamed Al Sinawi,  Senior Consultant in Psychiatry at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital who has established the Oman Alzheimer’s Society and Dr Yousef Washahi, from the Oman Medical Specialty Board, who chaired the event.

“A major part of this initiative is about education and raising awareness.” said Dr Yousef.

“Everyone can contribute to this by helping others to understand the benefits of quality palliative care and helping to spread the word.  Accurate press and TV coverage is part of this process”.

“Palliative care is not just for cancer patients. It’s not about diagnosis: it’s about need and particularly, pain control.  It may include rehabilitation and curative options and must always be tailored to the needs of the individual”, said Dr. Al Mandarin.

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With the Minister of Health. 

Palliative care has a role to play in the care of the elderly and particularly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.  As the ageing population of Oman grows, there will also be an increasing demand for special health care services for older people.

Watch a short video from the Seminar here.