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FHSSA and the African Palliative Care Association Launch the First-Ever Pain Management Initiative in The Gambia, Kenya, and Malawi
Date:2/9/2011

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With generous funding totaling more than $220,000 FHSSA and the African Palliative Care Association are partnering to improve pain management among palliative care patients receiving care in hospitals in The Gambia, Kenya, and Malawi.

These three countries were selected because they each have well-established national palliative care organizations, strong clinical leadership, historical success with related projects, and sound professional relationships with APCA and FHSSA staff/leadership.

FHSSA's executive director, John Mastrojohn, traveled to Uganda this week to participate in kick-off meetings for the project.

FHSSA and APCA identified a set of challenges for the management of pain in The Gambia, Kenya, and Malawi. Hospital-based health care workers sometimes have a limited understanding of the palliative care concept and the need for palliative care services.

"Often, physicians are not comfortable in effectively prescribing opioids, such as morphine. This can be due to lack of skills in pain assessment and management, coupled with fears around the use of these powerful medications," said Mastrojohn.

The project framework is based on the success of a pilot project in Uganda that was endorsed by the World Health Organization and the Ugandan Ministry of Health. Objectives include:

  1. To create awareness of, support for and prioritization of palliative care delivery among hospital management/administrators.
  2. To train hospital physicians in pain assessment and management, with a central focus on opioid use.
  3. To sensitize other health care workers in the hospitals and community to support palliative care service delivery.

Funding was provided by Astellas Pharma US, Inc. , AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., Lundbeck Inc, OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc., Pharmaceutical
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