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New York Times Letter to the Editor

September 17, 2007: Aid for Africa Executive Director responds to article on pain and suffering at the end of life, calling for more hospice-care programs in Africa.

To the Editor:

“Drugs Banned, World’s Poor Suffer in Pain” (front page, Sept. 10) rightly points out the need for pain-relief drugs for end-of-life care in poor countries, particularly in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

But end-of-life care is more than drugs. Almost three decades ago the first hospice-care program in sub-Saharan Africa began to deliver home-based care, including pain medication, but also integrated psychological and spiritual counseling and support systems for patients and their families.

Since that time, the Foundation for Hospices in Sub-Saharan Africa has partnered with African counterparts to create programs in more than a dozen African countries.

More programs are desperately needed, particularly in countries like Sierra Leone, to provide the quality end-of-life care that every person, regardless of country of origin or economic status, deserves.

Barbara Alison Rose
Chevy Chase, Md., Sept. 10, 2007
The writer is executive director of Aid for Africa.

Link to letter in the New York Times

Link to the original article No Relief: Drugs Banned, Many of World’s Poor Suffer in Pain (September 10, 2007)