Implementation of the World Health Organization 'analgesic ladder' in Saudi Arabia

Isbister, W.H.; Bonifant, J.
March 2001
Palliative Medicine;Mar2001, Vol. 15 Issue 2, p135
Academic Journal
The European School of Oncology recently sponsored a symposium at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Saudi Arabia entitled 'The modern management of advanced cancer: how to help your patients'. During this symposium, a workshop was organized in order to address the problem of 'the availability and the distribution of narcotics' for patients with advanced symptomatic cancer in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Many country-wide problems were identified including the lack of specific information, religious acceptance and education for patients, health care professionals and government, the availability of medications and access to palliative care. It was suggested that clear protocols for the acceptance of patients into palliative care programmes, the prescribing and delivery of medication, and their availability throughout the country, be established. The goal of allowing patients with advanced cancer to die with dignity and without pain was identified as a worthy one and one that would be appreciated not only by patients themselves but by their relatives, carers, religious leaders and government. The workshop discussed some of the ways of trying to achieve this goal, and its conclusions are reported here.


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