Millions suffer due to lack of palliative care
Millions of people who are suffering from a terminal disease go through unnecessary pain because of lack of palliative care services in their countries. It is especially the case with most developing countries. It was reported that cancer patients threw themselves in front of trucks to commit suicide so that they can escape the pain, in Ethiopia.
There are several countries including India where palliative care is very poor. Morphine is the important drug used to relieve such extreme pain and it is very cheap. However, the countries should order enough amount of this drug they will require for a year from the Narcotics Control Board. Morphine is prepared from the opium seeds cultivated in Afghanistan and it is very cheap. While Afghanistan offers the majority of the opium needed to produce Morphine, there are restrictions in Afghanistan due to the fear of drug addiction among people.
On the other hand, developed countries have good palliative care services. 97 percent of the UK patients who needed the drug received it last year. In Austria, one out of every 160 patient received care in 2013.
The fear of the government about the illicit use of the drug is what prevents them from buying required quantities of the drug from the NCB.
Dr Stephen Connor of Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance said in a statement, “[Governments] are suffering mostly from ignorance, they don’t know what palliative care is and that it’s possible to relieve suffering”.
“Police are trained that any psychoactive substance is a drug of abuse. They don’t understand when you have pain and take a reliever, you don’t get high. You get pain relief.”
In May, ambassadors from all the 194 member countries of the WHO met together and pledged that palliative care will be given more importance hereon.