9 JulA New Era (Part 1)
Lyn Gould, CEO, shares about her recent experiences from her latest trip to China:
“There are times in this China journey when the moment feels surreal. One such moment was in May as I stood in front of the delegates at the 1st Symposium of the newly formed Children’s Palliative Care and Family Care Health Services Committee.
When Alan and I started the Butterfly Home our intention was to look after abandoned, life threatened children, but our hearts had been moved over the years by the sight of children with lifeless eyes, traumatised by abandonment. Pictures of so many families walking away from orphanage gates in despair, reading the little notes left with the baby, seeing the love and care with which the child had been dressed left searing impressions in our minds. From the start we wanted to get to a point where we could work with families to keep them together just when they needed each other the most.
BCH has organised and held 3 previous conferences on children’s palliative care in China and I felt proud that the work of BCH had been recognised and we were invited by the (national) China Care for Life Association to co-organise and host this important symposium. It was BCH responsibility to invite foreign experts in children’s palliative care to speak and share experiences of developing services, models of service and elements of children’s palliative care.
From birth to death when a child is ill, the issue affects the family and life quality.
Chinese speakers included nurses, doctors, social workers and a charity leader from all over China speaking about their developments and challenges. The talks were inspirational and left the participants wondering how best they can implement children’s palliative care within their settings in China. I was particularly touched by the words and theme of the speech by Tang Li Hong, the Chief Physician and President of the Hunan Provincial Children’s Hospital in Changsha (the city where the Butterfly Home is located). He spoke very simply about the need for humanity in the care of children and their families. Urging a change to the system to place emphasis on the FAMILY – not children and parents. From birth to death when a child is ill, he emphasised that the issue affects the family and life quality.
This Founding Assembly and First National Symposium of the Children’s Palliative Care and Family Health Care Professional Services Committee was a resounding success. The importance of children’s palliative care in China was recognised along with the fact that palliative care with ‘Chinese Characteristics’ can make a difference in the quality of life of children and their families with life limiting and life-threatening conditions in China.”
We are so excited and energised by this conference and cannot wait to share what the next developments will be for children’s palliative care in China. Tune in again over the coming weeks for the second part of this blog to read more about plans for the future.