50% of those who die from HIV and 80% of those who die from cancer experienced moderate or severe pain. Pain management has been and continues to be a challenge in the medical field. Most medical practitioners fail their patients when it comes to assessing and treating their pain, thus the dire need for frequent updates on pain control modalities.
In November 2016, Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) with support from Treat the Pain organized a Continuous Medical Education (CME) session for the Kenya Medical Association (KMA), Nairobi division. The facilitator was a consultant in Pain and Palliative Medicine- Dr. John Weru.
The CME covered various issues to do with pain such as basic pathophysiology of pain, approaches to pain, assessment, , use of opioids among others. Dr. Weru emphasized that treating pain is a human right and not just a copy and paste issue on all patients suffering from the same disease. He also stressed out that people in the medical profession need to accurately assess a patient holistically and if need be prescribe medication using the World Health Organization ladder for physical pain. WHO pain relief recommendations were also emphasized so as to ensure that pain is adequately managed.
What is the essence of a talk if no concerns or questions are raised? Some worries expressed by the doctors included the risk of the patients getting addicted to morphine and if marijuana can be used in a medical field for pain management among others.
“I have come to fully connect with the seriousness of pain management when it comes to my patients, this session was something I really needed, I have understood the saying the wearer of the shoe knows where it pinches most, so what the patient says is pain, It truly is pain.” said one of the participants as the CME was coming to a close.
Access to pain treatment remains a human right. All in all the extensiveness of pain management could not be covered that evening and thus more CME sessions were requested by the participants.