Collaboration to Stop the Pain in Burkina Faso
Latest news: national conference on palliative care and pain relief scheduled for 2-3 December 2019 in Ouagadougou
OPIS is collaborating with Hospice Burkina, the palliative care association of Burkina Faso, to promote access to morphine to all patients in need. Hospice Burkina was founded in 2017 by Dr. Martin Lankoande, an anaesthesiologist who observed the intense human suffering caused by a lack of access to morphine and palliative care in Burkina Faso, a medium-sized country in West Africa. This is a problem that plagues most low- and middle-incomes, as described in detail in the 2017 Lancet Commission report. Through Hospice Burkina, which has about two dozen volunteers representing a range of professions with complementary expertise, Dr. Lankoande hopes to help change the medical system in his country to make the relief of pain and suffering a high priority, and ensure that everyone in need obtains effective pain relief.
On 29 January 2019, OPIS launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to support this collaboration. A key objective was to launch a major national conference in 2019 that will bring together major stakeholders, including members of the government, doctors, other medical practitioners and pharmacists, to address the urgent issue of pain relief and palliative care, and to decide on concrete solutions to remove the obstacles. The crowdfunding campaign aimed to cover the costs of the conference as well as the production of advocacy tools and documents that can help raise awareness and make the case for improved access. The conference is now scheduled for 2-3 December 2019 in Ouagadougou, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso.
On 13 June 2019, Jonathan Leighton from OPIS and Martin Lankoande from Hospice Burkina attended the congress of the Fédération Francophone Internationale de Soins Palliatifs (FISP, International Francophone Palliative Care Federation) in Paris. There they met with many others who are working to improve access to palliative care in Africa and discussed strategy to bring things forward in Burkina Faso. Dr. Lankoande was honoured with the FISP prize for "Diffusion de la Culture Palliative 2019" (Dissemination of Palliative Culture 2019).