Burkina Faso Collaboration

National conference on pain relief and palliative care in Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso, 2-3 December 2019, with Minister of Health Prof. Léonie Claudine Lougue/Sorgho (centre) flanked by Dr. Jonathan Leighton of OPIS and Prof. Anne Merriman of Hospice Africa

OPIS has played an instrumental role in the establishment of palliative care with access to morphine as part of Burkina Faso’s national health program.

OPIS began collaborating in 2018 with Hospice Burkina, the palliative care association of Burkina Faso, to make morphine available to all patients in need. Hospice Burkina was founded 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 problem plagues most low- and middle-income countries, as described in detail in the 2017 Lancet Commission report. Dr. Lankoande contacted OPIS requesting support, following our expert panel event at the Human Rights Council and the distribution of our advocacy guide.

Our collaboration led to a national conference on pain relief and palliative care, held on 2-3 December 2019  in Ouagadougou. The conference was co-organised by OPIS and Hospice Burkina with the official support and collaboration of  the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso. OPIS financed the conference through a successful crowdfunding campaign and provided support in making the case for access to morphine. A key objective was to 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 conference was a success, with the Minister of Health strongly supporting the initiative and promising to implement the recommendations. Subsequently, a process was begun to make changes in the national legislation, doctors and nurses started to be trained in the administration of morphine, and liquid oral morphine finally started to be produced, allowing true palliative care to become a reality in the country.

Morphine production in Burkina Faso, 2023

For more information see the news post on the conference and read the press release: Burkina Faso takes major step forward on palliative care and access to morphine.

We share our experience in this article “How a Local Champion can bring the Government on Board” which appeared in the bulletin of Swiss medical network Medicus Mundi.