Target: President of Senegal Macky Sall
Goal: Supply oral morphine to pharmacies and fully train Senegal’s medical staff
In Senegal, tens of thousands of patients are in agony due to a shortage of pain medication and a lack of well-trained medical professionals. This acute problem can be remedied by supplying the nation’s pharmacies with oral morphine and training their medical staff.
A recent report by the Human Rights Watch found that 70,000 Sengalese need palliative care, which requires a team of doctors and nurses treating a serious illness. Most of the care in Senegal is targeted towards treating symptoms that are related to chronic life threatening diseases. Morphine is one of the easiest ways to treat pain because it is cheap and can be taken orally, however Senegal imports only one kilogram of the medication a year. This is only enough to treat 200 cancer patients. Patients who also need the medication can only find it in Senegal’s capital, Dakar; it is unavailable anywhere else.
Activists are urging officials to allow more morphine into their pharmacies. Human Rights Watch interviewed 170 patients – some had to decline the interview because they were in pain. A 47 year old man who was diagnosed with prostate cancer spoke of the constant daily pain he suffers. He struggles with the agony for two, maybe three days before he is forced to take a pill. He claims to feel the pain in his bones and because of this he cannot live a normal life.
There are other contributing factors that cause patients in Senegal to suffer. Many doctors and nurses do not know how to treat chronic pain because the government has not provided information on these topics in the medical curricula. The nation also suffers from a lack of plan to treat cancer. In Senegal, cancer is often diagnosed late, and it kills more Senegalese citizens than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
The people in Senegal deserve better than this. The government desperately needs to get their act together and allow more morphine to enter their pharmacies. These medications need to be regulated so they cannot be abused, and the medical staff need to be immediately trained to treat chronic pain and identify the presence of cancer. Sign this petition and urge the president of Senegal to enact these changes.
Dear President Macky Sall,
The people in your country are suffering from chronic pain, something that can be easily remedied with pain killers. Your cancer patients in particular need palliative care and oral morphine to placate the agony resulting from their treatments. Because your nation only receives one kilogram of morphine a year – enough to treat 200 cancer patients – there are many in your nation who are still suffering. It is distressing to know that many of your citizens are diagnosed late with cancer. Your doctors and nurses should be able to detect the warning signs and conduct tests along with treatments.
I am imploring you as a concerned human being, that you enact changes in your country’s medical system. I ask that you import more oral morphine into your country so your citizens wouldn’t have to suffer. If it were a family member or a close friend, would you want to see them in pain, pain that could be easily remedied? Please consider the comfort and longevity of your people; make these changes happen.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: James Heilman via Wikimedia