Professor David Hill chaired a session at the Congress updating attendees on work by the Global Access to Pain Relief Initiative (GAPRI) in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, India, and Haiti that has resulted in 2 million additional person-days of pain treatment this year. Dr Meg O'Brien, GAPRI's Director, then provided a general update of programmatic activities. This was followed by a presentation about international regulations by Cancer Council Victoria's Jonathan Liberman. Dr. O'Brien described the significant advances that Uganda has made in securing a stable, affordable supply of oral morphine. In Nigeria, a new three-year collaboration between the Federal Ministry of Health and GAPRI has resulted in the first government procurement of morphine powder in four years and Jenna Kohnke described the scope and scale of the collaboration. She also provided an overview of the Pain-Free Hospital Initiative, a one-year hospital-wide quality improvement project that is focused on improving pain treatment. GAPRI is launching the initiative in India in collaboration with Pallium India and will be expanding to Haiti in 2013 in a collaboration with Partners in Health. Finally, the Uganda State Minister for Health, Dr. Richard Nduhuura, gave a closing talk on the role of palliative care in cancer care in Uganda. The session ended with an informative discussion among the panel members and the audience.
The Congress also saw new pledges of support for GAPRI projects. In a plenary at the Congress, Lance Armstrong announced his Foundation's intention to provide 250,000 USD for a new project to improve access to pain relief in Haiti. This collaboration between GAPRI and Partners in Health will focus on improving availability of pain medicines and training clinical staff in two large hospitals over two-and-a-half years. The American Cancer Society also announced their intention to significantly increase their financial support for GAPRI over the next three years. This funding will enable GAPRI to expand activities and take on new projects.
Image courtesy of © Moonshine Agency
Dr Henry Ddungu treating a cancer patient in Kampala Uganda