Published on: March 7, 2012

We were very pleased to hear last week from Meg O’Brien, Ph.D., director of the Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI) of its collaboration with the Nigerian Ministry of Health.

We were even more heartened to see that the story has now been picked up by the New York Times, in an article headlined “Nigeria to Import Morphine in Pain Relief Initiative”by health reporter Donald G. McNeil, Jr. Meg sent us this information:

… the Honourable Minister of Health of Nigeria, Prof. C.O. Onyebuchi Chukwu, held a press conference at the Abuja Sheraton hotel to announce a new collaboration with the Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI) to make essential pain relief available for Nigerians who need it.

The first step in the effort was the initiation of an emergency procurement of 26 kg of morphine by the government. Since only 1 kg has been procured since 2007 and Nigeria has the largest unmet need for pain relief in Sub-Saharan Africa, this represents an important first step to changing the landscape of access to pain relief both in Nigeria and in the region.

The Minister of Health earlier this month signed an agreement with GAPRI to provide technical assistance to the government as well as provide a full-time staff member who will serve as the Special Assistant to the Director of the Food and Drug Services Department on Access to Pain Relief.

This progress is a direct result of lobbying by the national Cancer Control Programme and support from the Center for Palliative Care, Nigeria, the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of Nigeria, the African Palliative Care Association, and Hospice Africa Uganda.

GAPRI’s involvement would not have been possible without the support of these organizations, and particularly, Prof. Isaac Adewole and Prof. Olaitan Soyannwo, who invited us in and helped us to plan the technical proposal.

The press release from the Hon. Minister is available here:

Congratulations to all who were involved in this major achievement.

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