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WHO convenes Swiss conference on pain

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GENEVA, Switzerland, Oct 11, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- The World Health Organization observed the first Global Day Against Pain Monday at the launch of a conference to draft better relief for pain sufferers.

The conference in Geneva, Switzerland, coincides with the release this month of the Council of Europe's newly formulated recommendations on palliative care including management of pain. The recommendations provide detailed guidance for setting up a national policy framework, and are available in 17 European languages.

New global statistics indicate one in five people suffer from moderate to severe chronic pain, and that one in three are unable or less able to maintain an independent lifestyle due to their pain. Between one-half and two-thirds of people with chronic pain are less able or unable to exercise, enjoy normal sleep, perform household chores, attend social activities, drive a car, walk or have sexual relations.

Oral morphine has proven to be a cost-effective pain medication for the treatment of moderate to severe pain when the underlying cause is cancer or HIV/AIDS. However, opioid analgesics are not adequately available, particularly in developing countries with limited resources, due to ignorance of their medical use, restrictive regulations and pricing issues.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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