Feature Humanitarian aid

On a mission to relieve the global epidemic of untreated pain

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j4022 (Published 29 August 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j4022
  1. Richard Hurley, features and debates editor
  1. The BMJ
  1. rhurley{at}bmj.com

Most of the world’s people lack access to good pain management, including opioids, as a result of the war on drugs. Richard Hurley reports on a charity working to correct this among refugees and other vulnerable populations

“The Yazidi people are considered the devil by Daesh, which wants to erase them from the Earth,” explains Richard Trèves, a rheumatologist and university professor in Limoges.

The Yazidis, an ancient ethnic minority in Iraq, Syria, and Iran, must convert from their syncretic religious beliefs or flee areas controlled by Daesh, also known as Islamic State.

Iraqi Kurdistan has well over a million refugees, and 15 months ago, on Trèves’s fourth mission to this autonomous region, he heard their stories of unimaginable violence: rape, beheadings, and forced cannibalism.

The mission was organised by the French non-governmental organisation Douleurs Sans Frontières—“Pain Without Borders.”1

Formed in 1996 by the palliative care …

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