Many SA kids in pain because they cannot access palliative care

Dr Michelle Meiring has raised concerns over government's failure to implement a palliative care plan.

There are said to be only a few places in South Africa offering proper pain relief, despite the fact that at least a million children are dying from – or living with – incurable conditions.

Meiring who is the founding director of Paedspal and a Paediatric Palliative Care says despite a draft policy, efforts to remedy the situation have ground to a halt because of a lack of funding.

There has been a steering committee, a group of experts that have been called by the Minister of Health to develop a palliative care policy and I have been part of it for the last two years. We have got to the point where this policy needs to be implemented but unfortunately, there isn't sufficient funding to realise it.

Dr Michelle Meiring, Founding director - Paedspal and a Paediatric Palliative Care

Meiring elaborates on the extent of the problem.

In Cape Town we do have more of these specialist drugs but I am also part of the South African children's palliative care network and we also assist people across the country and every now and again I will get a request from a colleague of mine in need of the same kind of drugs that I am able to access.

Dr Michelle Meiring, Founding director - Paedspal and a Paediatric Palliative Care

You have a child at the end of the day who dies in pain. There is nothing worse than being at the bedside of a child whose pain you can't control. You feel terrible, the mother is in tears... it has far reaching consequences. It has actually been found that if you don't treat the pain properly, people can have prolonged recovery from illness and can die prematurely.

Dr Michelle Meiring, Founding director - Paedspal and a Paediatric Palliative Care

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