Experts seek easy access to pain management drugs

ISLAMABAD: Highlighting the alarming absence of acute and chronic pain management facilities in the country, experts sought an easy and prompt access to controlled analgesics, pain management drugs and urged the establishment of acute pain management services at all public and private hospitals. 
They were addressing the first international pain conference organized by Shifa International Hospital (SIH) on Saturday. The conference was attended by a number of anesthesiologists, pain management consultants, doctors and medical faculty from across the region. Leading Anesthesiologist and Pain Management Expert at Nottingham University Hospital UK Dr Syed Zaki Hussain was the chief guest of the conference. 
Director Surgical Intensive Care Unit and Consultant Anesthesiologist SIH Prof. Brig. (Retd) Muhammad Zameer said morphine and other narcotics had a very crucial role in chronic — cancer pain — and acute pain — post-operative (post-op) pain and labor pain. He said access to controlled analgesics was now too hard for even hospitals and medical institutions. Millions of operations are performed every day but acute post-op pain remains widely untreated, he said. 
Prof Zameer said that the situation was even gloomier in chronic pain management. Quoting the 2009 study of World Health Organisation, he underlined that eighty percent of world population was inadequately treated for moderate to severe pain. Five billion people live in the countries which have minimal or no access to controlled analgesics. “Given this enormous worldwide burden, pain represents a major global health concern, he said.” Yet pain management is neglected by the governments and international development organizations, he lamented. 
Prof Zameer further said that acute, chronic and cancer pain collectively indicated unreported and silent dimension of adult and pediatric morbidity and mortality. In 2010, he stated, 42 million grams of morphine was legally used worldwide, 78 percent of which went to six countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK and USA while only 22 percent was consumed in the rest of the world. 

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