Uganda: delivering analgesia in rural Africa: opioid availability and nurse prescribing

J Pain Symptom Manage. 2007 May;33(5):547-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2007.02.014.


Hospice Africa Uganda introduced palliative medicine to Uganda in 1993 with enough funds to support a team of three clinicians for three months. Training in the medical and nursing schools was introduced in 1994. Since then, Uganda has achieved the three essential components of an effective public health strategy. It has also been the first country to have palliative care described as an essential clinical service and included in both the government's Strategic Health Plan and its HIV/AIDS National Strategic Framework (in 2000 and 2004), and to change the law to allow nurses and clinical officers who complete special training in palliative medicine at Hospice Uganda to prescribe morphine. Palliative care is spreading throughout the districts of Uganda, ensuring that morphine will be available to everyone who needs it. This is being done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other organizations that collaborate in two umbrella organizations: the Palliative Care Association of Uganda and the Uganda Palliative Care Country Team. The former works "on the ground" in each district, establishing standards, collaborating, and carrying out continuing medical education in palliative care for all. The latter, chaired by the MOH, operates with the government to implement an integrated, coordinated, affordable, and culturally acceptable palliative care service throughout the country.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Nurses / trends*
  • Pain, Intractable / drug therapy
  • Pain, Intractable / etiology
  • Palliative Care / organization & administration
  • Palliative Care / trends*
  • Rural Population
  • Uganda
  • Uterine Neoplasms / complications


  • Analgesics, Opioid