NFL player and award-winning filmmaker help raise awareness of global pain problem

Categories: People & Places.

Kiwanuka, whose grandfather, Benedicto Kiwanuka, was the first Prime Minister of Uganda and who still has family in the country, and Neistat traveled with representatives from the Society’s Treat the Pain programme April 2-5.

During the trip, Kiwanuka and his wife, Tessa, visited patients and their families, clinicians, and local non-governmental organisations to learn about untreated cancer pain and the relief that can be provided with inexpensive, effective pain medications.

“Uganda is a special place to me and my family. I look forward to working with Treat the Pain to highlight the global disparities in access to pain relief and learning about the progress Uganda is making to alleviate suffering,” said Kiwanuka. “The Society estimates that nearly three million people die each year around the world in pain from cancer or HIV without access to relief. I hope that our involvement raises the profile of the issue and prompts people to do something.”

Neistat, widely known for his popular YouTube videos and the Nike ads he has shot all over the world, will create a short film about the visit to be released later this year.

The American Cancer Society’s Treat the Pain programme works directly with governments and partners in low and middle-income countries to make essential pain medicines universally available. With projects in Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, India, and Haiti, Treat the Pain has worked with partners to provide 2.6 million days of treatment for patients in need since 2011.

“We’re excited and honoured to have Mathias and Casey joining our team to address access to pain relief issues in Uganda and around the world,” said Dr. Meg O’Brien, Director of Treat the Pain. “Mathias’ strong connection to Uganda and successful NFL career makes him a great advocate for this issue and Casey is an amazing film maker who can make these patients’ courage in the face of needless suffering something that people can really see and understand.” 

Treat the Pain is a programme of the American Cancer Society to make effective pain medicines universally available by 2020. Treat the Pain works with governments and partners in low and middle-income countries to promote sustainable improvements in public sector medicine availability, reduce the cost and improve the availability of medicines, and improve the skills and motivation of individual clinicians. 

This article was originally published on the Treat the Pain website.

For more information about Treat the Pain, please visit and for more information about the trip to Uganda with Mathias Kiwanuka and Casey Neistat, follow Treat the Pain on Twitter (@TreatThePain) or Facebook ( 

For more information, please contact: Jenna Kohnke: Manager, Treat the Pain (202) 213-4594.

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