10 green bottles
Tessa Haynes visited Uganda and was surprised to find palliative care so well established. She explains why this high priority is justified, given the stretched resources of many developing countries
Peter carefully measures out a bright green liquid, and then pours it into a line of plastic bottles, one by one. He is the pharmacy dispenser at Hospice Africa and his role is to mix this strangely coloured concoction each day. The liquid is morphine; Hospice Africa uses 90 litres each month to control the pain of patients in the terminal stages of cancer and AIDS. For identification, the weak dilution of morphine is coloured green and the stronger morphine is red.
Hospice Africa is based in Kampala, Uganda, and provides relief of pain and symptoms through a team of specialist palliative care nurses and doctors. The aim is to reduce patients' symptoms so that they can spend this important time at the end of their lives living in the fullest way possible, free from overwhelming pain and the loss of dignity that accompanies the pain.
Providing care at home--the