Working together for pain relief in Burkina Faso

In the West African country of Burkina Faso, thousands of people suffering from terminal cancer or AIDS die in severe pain every year because they don’t have access to palliative care or essential pain relieving medicines such as morphine. A new initiative intends to change things.

Hospice Burkina, the palliative care association of Burkina Faso, was founded in 2017 by Dr Martin Lankoandé, a passionate anaesthesiologist. Dr Lankoandé is dedicating his career to make pain relief and palliative care an integral part of his country’s medical system.

Trained in Uganda and in Belgium on palliative care and pain relief, he has brought together in his association around 20 volunteers with a diverse range of expertise.

A compassionate society and the prevention of pain and suffering

The Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) is a Swiss-based Think-and-Do-Tank founded by Jonathan Leighton. OPIS advocates for a compassionate society where the prevention of pain and suffering of all sentient beings is given the highest priority.

OPIS organised an expert panel event at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last year, advocating for access to morphine as a human right (more info here). OPIS was also mentioned in this recent article in New Humanist magazine: ‘The other opioid crisis’.

OPIS and Hospice Burkina are working together to bring relief of pain and suffering to patients in Burkina Faso.

Bringing together key stakeholders

We are planning to hold a major national conference in the first half of this year, bringing together top government officials, doctors, pharmacists and others to discuss draft proposals and arrive at concrete solutions.

The conference will address some of the unsubstantiated fears associated with opioids but also, through dialogue, develop a comprehensive proposal that addresses any issues and obstacles to making essential medicines such as morphine available to all in need.

More generally, it will promote the alleviation of suffering and palliative care as a top healthcare priority.

Support for the conference

We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign to support this initiative, allowing us to fund the conference, create advocacy tools and conduct media outreach.

The campaign has already received good support, including from moral philosopher Professor Peter Singer. We are still looking to raise additional funds to meet our target and ensure that we can make the most of this opportunity.

You can donate to the fundraiser here:

Help us to #StopThePain in Burkina Faso!