The Worldwide Hospice Palliative Care Alliance

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144th session of the Executive Board<br>24 January - 1 February 2019
Agenda Item: 
5.7.1 Access to medicines and vaccines

I’m Sharon Thompson, here with the Worldwide Hospice and Palliative Care Alliance. I have already told part of our daughter Victoria’s story but I would like to give my perspective on access to medicines.

Victoria our 3 month old daughter screamed with pain because she had a rare non-communicable condition and her nerves were not insulated. Her pain could only be alleviated by medicines and particularly morphine. Without morphine she would have lived and died her short life in extreme agony, and we would have simply had to sit beside her and watch.

We can still hear but cannot describe the cry Victoria made when in pain. Her high pitched screams were unbearable and they led to hoarse terrible sobs that were unending. Her beautiful eyes begged us for relief. Thankfully she got some because of palliative care and palliative care medications and we were able to make beautiful memories with her.

We knew Victoria was not going to get better, and we wanted her to live her short life without suffering. When Victoria died, she died safely, without pain.

Now I know more about the international situation in relation to access to controlled medications for pain. I know about the hidden suffering of over 61 million adults, children and their families.

So I respectfully request that when you make policies and plans and set budgets on access to medicines, that you think of Victoria and children like her around the world, who are in desperate pain which could be treated.

I ask you to look carefully at the relatively low costs of providing access to pain medications for those who need them against the huge and long-lasting human costs of not providing them. In memory of Victoria please use your power and influence to stop this global, avoidable suffering.