Only 6% of poor countries have oral morphine availability in their primary health centers. The new directives do not propose "a revolution" as regards the treatment of pain, but rather an "evolution through adaptation to existing medications and a methodical approach, stage by stage.
One of the biggest obstacles is the fear in certain countries that the availability of opioids (a type of painkillers) can lead to abuses.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today presented new guidelines for pain management in cancer patients with the aim of helping countries' health systems address these situations, which are often ignored or barely treated. (Read: Dwell Well, what I forgot the medicine)
"No patient with cancer should live or die with pain, neither in rich nor poor countries, because the cost of treating pain is not very high. This is a matter of priority, of having a system of distribution of medicines and staff formed, "said WHO expert, Etienne Krug.
55% of people who receive treatment against some type of malignant tumor experience pain, whereas in patients with advanced cancer or terminal status it is 66%.
WHO published the guidelines a few days after World Cancer Day on February 4 of each year, as a call for attention to the suffering of millions of people in the world.
The problem is, on the one hand, access to medications to relieve pain and, on the other, training of health personnel who can administer them to patients.
WHO has collected enough data to let you know just that 6% of poor countries have oral morphine availability in their primary health centers (one of the most widely used drugs in these cases). (Here also: opioid medications: in Colombia there is even inequality to treat pain)
Access is ten times greater (67%) in the rich States, according to that data.
Krug, who is director of the Department of Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO, explained in a press conference that the new directives do not propose "a revolution" in terms of treatment of pain, but rather an "evolution by adapting to existing medications already a methodical approach, stage by stage ".
"What we want to convey is that it is possible to treat pain caused by cancer in all people who suffer it and that this should become part of the treatment," he added.
One of the biggest obstacles that have arisen in this problem is the fear in certain countries that the availability of opioids (a type of painkillers) can lead to abuses and, in particular, fall into the hands of people addicted to these substances or cause addiction to the patient. (We suggest: The global crisis of not being able to treat pain with opiates)
Krug considered that we must seek a balance between that concern and the needs of patients to help them lead the disease or die with dignity.
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