Where is the evidence for pain, suffering, and relief-can narrative help fill the void?

J Pain Palliat Care Pharmacother. 2011;25(1):25-8. doi: 10.3109/15360288.2010.549937.


Eighty percent of global population has no access to pain relief or to palliative care. International organizations have repeatedly pointed out that access to pain relief and palliative care are basic human rights. Ignorance, callous indifference, and barriers to availability of essential medicines are among the reasons for such needless pain. It is not just a question of resources. Experience from Uganda and from Kerala in India has shown that such suffering can be relieved at minimal cost. When we have the means at our disposal to relieve suffering, failure to do so is tantamount to torture. People in pain and suffering do not have the ability to raise their voice against the injustice. The needless suffering needs to be brought to global attention. Narratives can help fill the gap. In addition to acting as cathartic to people who have suffered, narratives help professionals and concerned individuals by improving self-awareness and awareness of the patients' perspective. In this issue, the Journal of Pain & Palliative Pharmacotherapy introduces a new feature, "Stories of Pain, Suffering, and Relief," and invites contributions towards a body of literature that should help as a tool of advocacy.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / supply & distribution
  • Attitude to Health
  • Awareness
  • Drugs, Essential / supply & distribution
  • Global Health
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Human Rights
  • Humans
  • Narration*
  • Pain Management*
  • Palliative Care / methods


  • Analgesics
  • Drugs, Essential