O, the pain, it makes me suffer!

O, the pain, it makes me suffer!

Friday, October 18, 2019

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A national pain conference, the first of its kind, will be held here this Sunday, in search of a collaborative approach among health professionals to improve pain relief for the thousands of Jamaicans who suffer daily.

The Jamaica Pain Collaborative (JPC), a 12- year-old non-profit organisation, comprised of health-care workers whose mandate is to provide improved management of pain for all Jamaicans, will bring some 150 professionals together at the Knutsford Court Hotel in St Andrew to talk pain.

The participants include physicians, nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists and anaesthesiologists from both the public and private sectors. They will hear lectures and presentations from local and international speakers, among them Dr Gladstone McDowell, a world-renowned Jamaican chronic pain specialist now residing in Ohio, USA.

Dr McDowell, as the keynote speaker, will deal with an issue now occupying the thoughts of people in many countries, especially the United States, when he speaks on 'Establishing a Pain Service… Principles, Protocols and Pitfalls in the Era of the Opioid Crisis'.

President of the JPC Dr Delroy Dawson, who will present a video testimonial on 'Chronic Non-malignant Pain — Socio-economic challenges', said Jamaica was way off the mark in managing pain.

“Pain is a life experience for everyone and so many people don't regard it as something which does not have to be, so they don't seek treatment for pain even when they should do so. As a country we need more strategies, and not just more medication to fight pain,” said Dawson.

A high point of the conference will be a one-hour lecture on 'Ethical Issues in Treating Pain at the End of Life', an issue about which many Jamaicans have little knowledge and which some shy away from because they do not wish to discuss death of loved ones before they pass.

Over the years, JPC has been advocating for the inclusion of potent analgesic agents in the local formulary in order to improve the pain relief of patients with both cancer and non-cancer pain.

“We have also successfully collaborated with the Sickle Cell Unit, Caribbean Institute for Health Research, University of the West Indies and the Hope Institute in Jamaica, to educate health-care professionals and produce pain management protocols for these very vulnerable patients,” said Dr Delroy Dawson, president of the JPC.

Another highlight of the conference, which could become annual, will be a presentation on 'Pain Management: Wat a Gwaan 'Cross di Island?' by Dr Mara Hosang, an accident and emergency consultant.

– Desmond Allen

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