Burkina Faso – Focusing on pain management


In May, a programme to improve pain management for sickle cell patients was introduced at the Hôpital Saint Camille in Ouagadougou.

Since 2014, the Fondation Pierre Fabre has been supporting the Sickle Cell Disease Initiative Committee in Burkina, the CID/B.

In the local language, it is known as the “disease of the crushing bones,” so great is the suffering of those with the malady. For sickle cell disease characteristically entails vaso-occlusive crises that can trigger very severe pain. Until now, management of these painful crises has often been inadequate. But, since 2014, in partnership with the Fondation Pierre Fabre, the Comité d’Initiative contre la Drépanocytose au Burkina (Sickle Cell Disease Initiative Committee in Burkina or CID/B) has had a programme in place to improve care for sickle cell patients.

A new tool in the fight against sickle cell disease

To address this important issue, the Fondation Pierre Fabre asked the NGO Douleur Sans Frontières (DSF, “Pain Without Borders”) to join forces with the CID/B in designing a project to improve pain-management training for the healthcare workers working with sickle cell patients. The training will be dispensed in three sessions over a two-year period, with the objective of training 120 healthcare professionals from four hospital complexes in Burkina Faso,  Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso.

The first session was held 9-14 May at the Hôpital Saint Camille in Ouagadougou, addressing 40 healthcare professionals, a collection of doctors, pharmacists, nurses and health workers. Professor Alain Serrie and Dr Jean Marie Farnos, both of DSF, provided instruction on the mechanisms of pain and its specific characteristics in sickle cell patients. Dr Christiane Buisson presented the training’s paediatric component.

The urgent need for adequate care

The session opened in the presence of Dr Smaila Ouedraogo, Minister of Health for Burkina Faso, Mr Gilles Thibault, Ambassador of France (the event was held under his patronage), Ms Aude Mondeilh, representative of the Fondation Pierre Fabre, and Mr Dramane Banaon, the CID/B National Coordinator. Sickle cell patients provided poignant testimonials about what they endured during the crises caused by the disease. Addressing those in attendance, Mr Banaon spoke of the Fondation Pierre Fabre and its commitment to fighting sickle cell disease and emphasised the critical importance of pain management. It is a key objective in a cultural context in which patient suffering is too often underestimated or downplayed.

Read the article in the Burkina Faso newspaper L’Observateur Paalga by clicking the link below.