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Bringing Pain Management to Africa: Spreading Relief Through Training

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thirty years after the start of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, researchers, health care professionals, philanthropic organizations and others still work tirelessly to bring relief and hope to those affected by the disease.

FHSSA, which began as the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa, is one such organization working to improve the lives of those living with HIV/AIDS, focusing primarily on palliative care and improving pain management. Hospital-based health care workers in Africa often have limited understanding of the palliative care concept and of the need for palliative care services. Moreover, physicians aren't always comfortable prescribing pain medications, such as morphine. In effort to address this, and bring a better understanding of the concepts of palliative care, FHSSA launched the Pain Management Initiative, in partnership with the African Palliative Care Association, focusing on The Gambia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland, and Zambia.

The goals of the initiative are to create awareness and support for palliative care among hospital management, to train physicians in pain assessment and management with a focus on opioid use, and to sensitize other health care workers in hospitals and the community to support palliative care delivery. So far, the program has had tremendous success in reaching these audiences.

"Yesterday was a new beginning in my life. I have the knowledge now that pain must be addressed…we need to find a way," said Petronilla Akello Odero, a participant in the launch of the initiative in Kenya.

The Pain Management Initiative is made possible by generous funding by groups such as Endo Pharmaceuticals. This organization received FHSSA's Spirit of Compassion Award in October for their leadership and support of FHSSA's efforts to improve the understanding and delivery of hospice and palliative care throughout Africa. "We are so grateful to Endo Pharmaceuticals for sharing their generosity and expertise in an area where resources are so sparse, and the need so great," said John Mastrojohn, executive director of FHSSA. 

To learn more about FHSSA, visit,

Shelley Smith
Director, FHSSA
Ph: 703-647-6695

FHSSA is an affiliate of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. FHSSA's mission is to build partnerships to enhance compassionate care in Africa. As members of a global village, FHSSA supports compassionate care where the need is great and resources are few. 

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