The Cudeca Foundation laid the first stone of its new training and education centre in Benalmádena on Friday. Thanks to a generous grant from Indian scientist and billionaire businessman, Dr Yusuf Hamied, the cancer charity will now be able to fulfill its longtime vision of opening a scientific research centre for palliative care.
The 82-year-old doctor is renowned for his pioneering work with Aids patients and has a reputation for providing life-saving medicines - primarily to people in third-world countries - regardless of their ability to pay for the treatment.
The ceremony of laying the first stone was held in the field adjacent to the Cudeca cancer care centre in Arroyo de la Miel, a plot that was donated by Benalmádena town hall.
The event was attended by Dr Hamied, who laid the stone; Joan Hunt, founder of the charity, and several representatives of the Junta de Andalucía regional government and Benalmádena town hall.
First of its kind in Spain
The two-storey research centre will be the first of its kind in Spain and will cost approximately one million euros, of which, Dr Hamied, who has supported Cudeca for over ten years, has pledged around 75 per cent.
The Dr Yusuf Hamied Training and Research Centre's main objective is to train professionals of all levels in quality palliative care, as well as to develop innovative models of intervention and research. In addition, it will generate a source of income that will help deal with the increase in patients, which has doubled in the past five years.
Construction on the centre is due to begin in December and Cudeca expects it will be ready for use by 2020.
Belén Moncada, spokesperson for the new centre, told SUR in English of Cudeca's joy at seeing its vision finally begin to materialise, while emphasising the importance of the project and the possibilities it will create for both patients and professionals: "The new research and education centre will be the first of its kind in Spain. We are all very excited that this will now become reality. The centre will educate professionals from all over the world and it will become a pioneer in palliative care research."
Ángel Krebbers, Cudeca communication officer, added, "Without Dr Hamied's help, this would not have been possible. His generosity has given Cudeca a unique opportunity to become innovators in this field of education and research."
Since its inception in 1992, Cudeca has participated in the training of over 3,000 professionals, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, social workers and psychologists. In addition, every year postgraduate students from countries such as Sweden, Norway, Mexico, the UK and several cities in Spain visit the hospice to engage in courses and lectures concerning palliative care.