PainSA is a chapter of the International Association for the Study of Pain. Our mission is to improve all aspects of pain management in Southern Africa.

Access to Pain Management as a Human Right


The concept of access to pain management as a human right has gained increasing currency in recent years. Commencing as individual advocacy, it was later embraced by the disciplines of pain medicine and palliative care and by mainstream human rights organisations.

Today, United Nations and regional human rights bodies have accepted the concept and incorporated it into key human rights reports, reviews, and standards. We review the foundations in law of this right and the obligations that flow from it to governments.

We analyse the nature and content of the obligation in the context of acute, chronic nonmalignant and cancer pain. Finally, we examine this right in light of the twin crises of inadequate access to pain management and the opioid crisis in the United States and other nations.


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