MILESTONES IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF PALLIATIVE CARE IN SABAH
1991 Realized the need to develop a Palliative Care Service. 50 to 70% of cancers recurred after surgery and other forms of treatment. These patients with incurable cancers needed pain and symptom control, good care and support - none was available. They went home to suffer along with the family and die, often alone with no dignity. Looked at various means of establishing a Palliative care service. 1992 April Visit to Australia by a team from Kita Kinabalu sponsored by Surgeons International Melbourne and Prof R.C.Bennett(Chairman of the Royal Australian College of Surgeons Foundation, and Editor in Chief of the Australia New Zealand Journal of Surgery) a good friend who took great interest in the development of surgery in Sabah to prepare for an anticancer campaign to downstage cancers in Sabah and at the same time to visit Hospices and Palliative Care Units in all the major centres in Australia with the hope of initiating a Palliative Care Service in Sabah. 1992 July to September, Organized Anti Cancer Campaign and promotion of the concept of Palliative Care under the banner of Sabah Cancer Society through a road show, anti cancer exhibition and Public forums to Tawau, Sandakan and Keningau. 1992 Formation of a Working Committee by Sabah Cancer Society under Tan Sri Thomas Jayasuriya to study and set up a Hospice Home Program. 1993 March Start of the Home Care Program under Sabah Cancer Society supported and backed by the Surgery Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. First Nurse Coordinator appointed - Ms Jercy Ng. 1995 January set up a Palliative Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth Hospital – first one in Malaysia with 4 beds. This was set up as a result of a paper highlighting the need for Palliative Care presented to the then Director of Medical Services Datuk Mechiel K Chan with full support from Dr G.Sannasey the Director of Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 1996 January it became obvious that a Palliative Care Unit was a necessity to not only provide specialized care to these patients, it was also necessary to support the home care program. Hence the Bed Strength of the unit was increased to 10 beds with, independent staffing and management under the Department of Surgery. Ministry of Health then accepted the Palliative Care Unit as a model unit for the country. Personnel from all over the country were sent to Queen Elizabeth Hospital to have a basic introduction to Palliative Care and to see the functioning of a Palliative Care Unit and the seamless care provided by both the unit and the home care program at Kota Kinabalu.. 1996 7th December Hospice Sandakan launched by JCI and registered as NGO in January 1998. 1997 May, Formation of Tawau Hospice Association, registered as NGO in December 1998 (The road show and public forum in1993 was instrumental in initiating these programs both in Sandakan and Tawau) 1998 June, Registration of the Palliative Care Association of Kota Kinabalu a Non Governmental Organization for the care of patients with advanced incurable cancers. Ms Jercy Ng elected as first President. 1999 July Two days Volunteers conference for Hospice Volunteers from the region entitled “Walk a while with me”. 1999 5th June First Palliative Care Fund Raising Dinner “The Boney M Borneo Blast”, Boney M featuring Maizie William. 1999 22nd June Dato’ Edward Ong of Sutera Harbour Resorts accepts to be the Patron of the Palliative Care Association of Kota Kinabalu. 2000 January Palliative Care Unit Bed strength increased to 12. 2000 March Isuzu Space Cab Ambulance loaned to PCA by Kinabalu Motor Assembly. 2000 14th and 15th July Two day Regional Palliative Care Conference “Hope for a Better Tomorrow” 2001 19th and 20th July Palliative Care - Doctors and Nurses Workshop from all over the state 2000 14th November 2nd Palliative Care Charity Dinner and Concert “I wanna hold your hand” The Beatles Unlimited. 2001 23rd to 26th October First Massage and Aromatherapy Workshop by Ms Wendy Leach (UK). 2001 Moved into own premises “Rumah PCA” PWD No 7396 & 7397 with administrative office, office for nurse coordinators, Conference rooms, Day Care Centre, Large store for equipments, kitchen etc 2001 13th November 3rd Palliative Care Charity Dinner and Concert “I have a Dream “Anita Sarawak 2002 3rd and 4th May Regional Palliative Care Conference “Palliative Care Making the Difference”. Asia Pacific Hospice Network Council Meeting in Kota Kinabalu 2003 Attained tax exemption status 2003 23rd September 4th Annual Charity Dinner and Concert “Sweet Melody of Night” Steven Kimbrough accompanied by Dalton Baldwin. 2003 12th and 13th December Workshop for doctors and Nurses from District Hospitals – jointly organized by the Palliative Care Association and the Asia Pacific Hospice Network 2004 Sr Morna Chua takes over as President 2004 30th April Public Forum, Dr Ednin Hamzah “The Role of Palliative Care in Modern Society”. 2004 24th and 25th September Palliative Care Workshop “To Improve the Quality of Palliative Care in Sabah”. 2004 14th to 16th October Refresher course for massage and aromatherapy by Ms Wendy Leach (UK) for volunteers 2004 30th November “Intensive Grief and Bereavement Workshop” by Dr Amy Chow from Hong Kong. 2005 18th March 5th Annual Charity Dinner and Concert “This Magic Moment” The Drifters. 2005 27th June Signing of MOU with University Malaysia Sabah 2005 December Lymphoedema Workshop for volunteers by Ms Ang Nancy,Singapore. 2006 June 15th to 17th Organized a very successful 7th Malaysia Congress an International conference for the Malaysian Hospice Council with eminent speakers from all over the world. 7 pre congress and 2post congress workshops. 2006 December 18th and 19th “Palliative Care Workshop on Pain Management and Communication skills” organized in collaboration with Queen Elizabeth Hospital.. 2006 29th March 6th Annual Charity Dinner and Concert “Love is the Message” with the Three Degrees. 2007 January Appointment of a Nurse Manager to consolidate and expand the service. Nurse Manager assisted by 3 nurses, administrative assistant besides volunteers. 2007 PCU Refurbished and remodeled as a modern Palliative are Unit. Workshop 2007 3rd November 7th Annual Charity Dinner and Concert “You can’t hurry love” The Supremes.