The Australian National Pain Strategy, which was supported by 150 healthcare and consumer organisations at the National Pain Summit in Canberra in March 2010, will feature strongly at the International Pain Summit (IPS), hosted by the International Association for the Study of Pain, to be held in Montreal Canada on 3 September 2010.
Professor Michael Cousins, who chaired the Australian Summit, has been invited to chair the Steering Committee for the IPS, which comprises representatives of 18 countries.
The Mission of the IPS is aligned with the Australian Pain Strategy, widely acknowledged as the first comprehensive national strategy with the largest and most consistent focus on a single healthcare issue in this era. It has been modified for worldwide application to include developed and developing countries and it states:
“We aim to improve quality of life for people with pain, their families and carers, and to minimise the burden of pain on individuals and communities worldwide”
Plans are well underway to develop national pain strategies in Canada, UK, USA and other countries and these will also be presented at the international summit.
The International Pain Summit will be a forum to enable all countries to benefit from the sharing of knowledge.
The Goals are:
· To develop a set of desirable characteristics of national pain strategies that can be agreed upon internationally. Individual countries can then use these broad principles to more fully develop specific strategies based on their own local requirements.
· To gain the attention of communities, the media, and governments about the magnitude of the health and economic problem of untreated acute pain, chronic pain, and pain caused by cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases and treatments.
· To involve health ministers and other government officials in developing and implementing national pain strategies.
· To begin to develop “best practice” models of service delivery.
· To contribute to the destigmatisation of chronic pain.
· To draw further attention to pain relief as a fundamental human right.
· To advocate for increased emphasis on, and support of, pain education and research.
Intended Audience and Participants
· Leaders of current initiatives, including representatives from IASP’s 84 national chapters
· Senior Health Administrators and Ministers
· Palliative Care Organizations
· International Narcotics Control Board representatives
· Human Rights advocates
· World Health Organization (WHO)
· National consumer (patient) organizations
· International Media
Call for Action
The summit will end with:
· Agreement on and signing of a declaration aimed at focusing world attention on under-treatment of all forms of pain, and
· A call for equity of access to treatment as a moral imperative and to support pain management as a fundamental human right.
The cost of registration is CAD $75. This includes, in addition to the Pain Summit, coffee breaks and a box lunch. Space is limited to only 250 delegates. Registration details are available on the IASP website at: www.iasp-pain.org
Background to the IPS:
World wide there is unacceptable under treatment of all types of pain. In acute pain (eg after surgery/trauma) and in cancer pain less than 50% of people receive effective pain relief – despite the fact that currently available methods could relieve pain in over 90% of people. Disturbingly the outcomes are no better in children, even in a study published in Australia in 2010. In the one in five people in most developed countries with chronic pain less than 10% gain access to treatments that could help more than 80% of people. Such people are being denied equity of access, compared to people with other chronic diseases.
In the developing world the situation is much worse for all types of pain, since at the most fundamental level, even the availability of the morphine-like drugs is often heavily restricted or even prohibited.
Worldwide this lamentable situation has led to an increasing number of national and international measures aimed at improving pain management. For example in 2004 the IASP collaborated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in holding a Global Day Against Pain in Geneva, with the theme “Pain Relief: a universal human right” (see MJ Cousins et al. Pain 2004;112:1-4) The WHO has collaborated with IASP in developing a Cancer Pain Program focussed on availability of opioids for cancer pain in all countries. WHO is also currently developing guidelines for chronic pain management.
Subsequently many provincial and national programs have commenced, for example in Australia, the UK, Canada, USA and in some developing countries including China, India, Turkey, Bosnia Herzegovina and others.
In addition to the healthcare and moral imperatives discussed above, chronic and cancer pain have a high prevalence with a major impact on individuals, families and the national economy. For example, in Australia, Europe and the USA the prevalence of chronic pain is 1 in 5, with a cost pa of $1.85 billion per 1 million population making chronic pain the 3rd most costly health problem in Australia. Cancer pain has a prevalence of 50% in the treatment phase and 80% in the terminal phase.
Thus in addition to a broad range of health professionals, educators and researchers, the IPS aims to have strong representation from world community leaders, health administrators, human rights organisations, human rights lawyers, the WHO, consumer organisations and other community groups.
The international focus on this issue is critical in bringing it to worldwide prominence as the most neglected health care issue, with a moral imperative that has been ignored for far too long.
Registration details for the International Pain Summit are available on the IASP website: www.iasp-pain.org. Your attendance at the summit would be most welcome.