Published on: June 2, 2014

“The doctors in Senegal’s second city of Touba have long since given up trying to prescribe the drug that stops the pain of cancer. There aren’t any morphine tablets in the city. The only place it can sometimes be found is in the capital, Dakar, four hours away – but government regulations prevent them from writing prescriptions for it anyway.”

In this article titled “The African cancer patients dying in unnecessary pain”  Krishnan Guru-Murthy of the Guardian writes about the unnecessary pain that patients with advanced cancer have to endure because of the lack of basic pain medication. In the absence of morphine, doctors are forced to prescribe paracetamol, and when the pain gets worse, Tramadol also.

“The World Health Organisation estimates that 80% of the world faces shortages of morphine and the vast majority of the global supply is consumed by just six countries. As Africa develops the crisis will intensify as cancer rates and populations grow.” What kind of health care systems have we created for ourselves! As J Hinton said, “We emerge deserving of little credit; we who are capable of ignoring the conditions which make muted people suffer”.

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