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Project Aims to Improve International Opioid Availability for Cancer Pain

Madison, Wisconsin - The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded nearly $200,000 to a UW Carbone Cancer Center researcher to make opioid pain medicines more available to cancer patients in Africa.


“We are excited that with this NCI award, palliative care and cancer pain relief are recognized as part of global cancer control,” said study investigator Dr. Jim Cleary, associate professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.


The NCI said that only 15 centers received awards under a contract to promote research collaborations with institutions in low- and mid-income countries.


Cleary said the award will fund a pilot project, as part of the International Pain Policy Fellowship, to empower health care practitioners in Africa with knowledge and skills to improve access to opioid analgesics for cancer pain management.


Cleary and the Pain and Policy Studies Group at the UW Carbone Cancer Center will collaborate with the African Palliative Care Association (APCA) to administer the fellowship for five practitioners who will act as change agents by working with in-country champions of improved access to opioid for pain relief.


While this is the fourth program that has supported fellows in countries to improve access to opioids, this project pilots both collaboration with a regional palliative care organization (APCA), and greater use of distance-learning technology to address legislative, education, and accessibility barriers.


“We have brought about significant changes already,” said Cleary. “For example, there is now immediate release of morphine in Ukraine. In Kenya, taxes on morphine have been removed. India, with 17 percent of the world’s population, has just passed legislation to allow greater access to opioids, a process in which PPSG was very active. We look forward to further improving access to controlled pain medicines in Africa and the rest of the world, one of the goals of the recent resolution on palliative care adopted by the World Health Assembly in Geneva.”

Date Published: 05/29/2014

News tag(s):  researchcancerglobal health

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Project Aims to Improve International Opioid Availability for Cancer Pain

Last updated: 06/03/2014
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