External Source:
Unbearable Pain | Human Rights Watch

“Stories of suffering like those of Muzaffar Iqbal and Raj Ramachandran are all too common in India. Although enormous problems exist with availability and accessibility of health services at all levels of care in India — due to limited resources and weak public health care services — the suffering of patients like Iqbal and Ramachandran can be easily and cheaply prevented.”

In October 2009, Human Rights Watch released a report on the lack of access to palliative care for cancer and HIV/AIDS patients in India. In their analysis, Human Rights Watch recommends that national governments like India address the palliative care gap for cancer and HIV/AIDS patients through:

  1. Enacting national palliative care policies and programs
  2. Investing in medical training on palliative care and pain management,
  3. Establishing a rational drug policy that ensures availability and accessibility of essential medicines. 

The report includes sections on:

  • Overview, Key Recommendations, and Methodology
  • A Brief Introduction to Palliative Care and Pain Treatment
  • Palliative Care and Pain Treatment in India
  • The Plight of Patients
  • The Causes of the Palliative Care and Pain Treatment Gap
  • The Human Rigths Analysis
  • A Way Forward
  • Appendix & Annexes – including procedures for morphine licensing, narcotics rules, Palliative Care Taskforce recommendations, Kerala’s Palliative Care Policy, and Human Rights Watch letters to key national stakeholders

Field research on palliative care was conducted in Rajasthan, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, and Kerala.