Monday, October 08, 2007

Poorer nations seek pain relief

Nearly 400 musical events are due to take place in around 85 countries to help raise awareness of the need for palliative care for the terminally ill.

Boys in Mozambique (File pic)A report issued for World Palliative Care Day highlights the limited access to pain relieving drugs in the developing world.

In much of Africa in particular, palliative care is in its infancy.

But Ghana is one of the countries where efforts are now being made to bring it into the health system.

According to the organisation Palliative Care Ghana, this is typical of societies where there is often little preparation for death.

Price of bread

But Ghana is also, like many other countries, seeing a rise in incidents of cancer detected too late to be treated.

There is a rapidly growing need for people to be able to benefit from the inexpensive pain control at the heart of palliative care.

In Uganda, where this type of care is more established, two weeks worth of morphine to keep a patient with advanced cancer free from pain is said to be equivalent to the price of a loaf of bread.

And yet, apparently as many as half the countries in the world have no palliative care.

The concerts taking place across the world aim to raise awareness of the advantages of this type of care for people of all ages, from children to the elderly.

Ethiopia is one of the countries taking part for the first time.

The scale of HIV/Aids only adds to the need for much greater access to palliative care in Africa, according to campaigners.

BBC NEWS | Health | Poorer nations seek pain relief