‘Millions denied end-of-life drugs’

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Ugandan woman Betty Naiga: ’My family hate looking at me and my tumour’

Lack of access to pain relief for dying patients is a “public health emergency”, say experts.

Figures suggest almost 18 million people – mainly in developing countries – died in unnecessary pain in 2012.

In Ethiopia, there are reports of cancer patients throwing themselves in front of trucks to escape pain.

The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance says part of the problem is the refusal of governments to give patients access to painkillers such as morphine.

It says restrictions are in place because of exaggerated fears about the risk of addiction.

Last month, health officials from almost 200 countries met at the UN and pledged to make palliative care a higher priority.

This is the first time the specialty has been recognised in this way and championed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Nestled in a banana plantation in a tiny village in Wakiso district in central Uganda, Betty Naiga, 48, lies on a thin mattress on the floor of her small yellow hut.

Source: BBC News (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
public health