Palliative care is for patients with incurable illness where they are made as comfortable as possible, by managing their pain and other distressing symptoms. It also involves psychological, social and spiritual support.
Chief of Department of Narcotic Control (DNC) yesterday said his department will increase the supply of morphine such patients by the end of the month.
DNC Director General (DG) Rakibur Rahman spoke as a special guest at an event observing World Hospice and Palliative Care Day.
Dr Nezamuddin Ahmad, head of Centre for Palliative Care at the event highlighted the situation regarding the supply of morphine in the country by saying: “At present Bangladesh needs some 340kg of morphine to care for cancer patients per day but only 34kgs is available daily. Morphine is essential for cancer patients to help cope with their treatment.”
The DG said that he was unaware of the crucial role the DNC plays in palliative care until a BSMMU professor had reached out to him about the current situation.
The doctors informed the DNC that sellers of morphine sellers were charging higher prices from the patients as the demand is hight but the supply is substantially low.
Because there is a quota system in place for the availability of morphine, the market cannot cope with the demand that there is in the medical profession, he added.
“We will do our best to increase the availability of morphine for patients within October,” He said adding that a draft of an amendment was sent to the ministry.
Speakers at the program also urged local pharmaceuticals to produce morphine which would be a cost effective alternative to the imported one.
Health Minister Mohammad Nasim wasinvited as the chief guest along with State Minister to health Jahid Malik, Health Secretary Syed Monjurul Islam, the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Abul kalam Azad could not attend the event.
An organising sources said Minister Nasim was at Sirajganj for an AL party program yesterday.
Bangladesh signeda landmark resolution on palliative care at the World Health Assembly in Geneva in 2014 but has yet to implement its regulations in the past two years.