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Introduction

During nearly two decades now, we have dedicated most of our lives, time and effort, to disseminate all over the World the idea of the need to promote the Treatment of Pain to the Level of one of the Fundamental Rights of Human Beings, finally, on August 21, 2001, a letter with the official Initiative was sent to the Honorable Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan.

The philosophical principles that were enunciated to Mr. Kofi Anann in that communication and that will be the core of the protocol to be presented to the representatives of the member nations for discussion, ratification and implementation are the following:

At this moment in the history of mankind, science has obtained enough knowledge to provide human beings with the necessary means to considerably – if not totally – alleviate physical and psychical pain, which has been the most terrible flagellation of the human genre ever since its origins…

Article 25 (of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) stresses the right of human beings to “a standard of living adequate for health and well-being”, unfortunately, health and well-being are not even an option in countless cases, and many of us – due to old age or disease inherent to our human nature – are left only with the circumstance of pain and suffering…

Thus, Being pain and suffering the greatest tyrannies of mankind, society will do its utmost to use any means within the present scientific knowledge to avoid suffering and provide human beings with all available and possible means of curing their pain, or ameliorating it, and thus granting them compassionate relief and dignity in life and dying.

As a consequence to our experiences in last two decades of the XX century as missionary physicians to some of the most remote areas of South America, we conceived since the very beginning the idea of promoting the Treatment of Pain to the level of one of the Fundamental Rights of Human Beings.  We originally conceived an amendment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; however, working with intellectuals on that field we concluded that the way to achieve our goal was through a United Nations Convention and a Pact of the member nations, all of it with the fundamental participation of the World Health Organization. 

After various years of convincing directly through personal contacts and in order to advance the idea of the Initiative worldwide, we wrote and sent through regular mail about 12,000 letters with all its the fundamentals of it to the following persons and organizations, to name just some of them:

  • The Heads of State of practically all the Countries of the World. 
  • The First Ladies of most Countries of the World.
  • Most of the religious leaders of the World, including the Pope and the Great Rabin 
  • The Ambassadors and representatives to the United Nations from most of the Governments of the World, including the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations.
  • All the Members of the United States Congress.
  • All the Members of the United States Senate.
  • All of the Members of the American Society of Pain Medicine
  • The Presidents of the:

     

    • American Academy of Pain Medicine
    • American Academy of Pediatrics
    • American Headache Society
    • American Pain Society
    • American Society of Addiction Medicine
    • American Society of Anesthesiologists
    • American Society of Pain Management Nurses
    • American Society of Regional Anesthesia
    • American Pain Foundation
    • Editorial Board of Bio Medicine
    • Editorial Board of The Pain Practitioner
    • Editorial Board of Practical Pain Management
    • International Anesthesia Research Society
    • Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation
    • Cancer Pain Forum
    • Symposium Spotlight
    • The Dannemiller Foundation
    • American Medical Association
    • National Forum of Independent Pain Clinicians
    • Joint Commission for Accreditation of Health Care Organizations
    • Virginia Cancer Pain Initiative
    • The Presidents of the all the Pain Associations around the world that it was possible to identify through various searches, including the different IASP chapters, many of which responded immediately giving its unconditional support to the Initiative. 

We also sent letters or made personal contacts with some of the most prominent leaders in the World in the area of pain management and research, to name a few, Racks Gabor, Prithvi Raj, David Niv, Meno Sluijter, Octavio Calvillo, Ricardo Ruiz López, Ricardo Plancarte, Diego Beltrutti, Alexander Texeira and hundreds more.  All of the physicians contacted gave their support to the Initiative.  Dr. Niv from Israel and past President of the EFIC, made a commitment in Peru with the directive of the Latin American IASP chapters to take the Initiative to the EFIC Directors Meeting, to ask for the support of the organization and so to promote it on the Global Day Against Pain on October 11, 2004.  Now the official logo of the Global Day Against Pain reads: “A shared commitment between IASP and EFIC Towards the Relief of Pain as a Human Right”.  We are more than grateful to doctor Niv for all his work with the Latin American Societies and for all his support and sympathy to this Initiative.

We are also very happy that finally this year 2004, we got a response from the IASP World President, Dr. Michael Bond who, we are sure, has been instrumental in this achievement.

It is worth to noticing that although we did not get an the answer from all the institutions or individuals that we wrote to, we got one hundred percent approval from the ones that did respond to our communication.

We have personally addressed key leaders and lectured to many medical, humanitarian and pain societies about the Principles of the Initiative to obtain their approval and support, in the following places, to name a few:

  • Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Bogotá, Colombia
  • Bucaramanga, Colombia
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Cali, Colombia
  • Cancum, México
  • Cartagena, Colombia
  • Chen Sen, China
  • Cuneo, Italy
  • El Cairo, Egypt
  • Guadalajara, México
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala
  • Hermosillo, Sonora, México
  • Hong Kong, China
  • Houston, Texas, USA
  • Istambul, Turkey
  • La Paz, Bolivia
  • Lima, Perú
  • Los Angeles, California, USA
  • Madrid, Spain
  • Málaga, Spain
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Mérida, México
  • México City, México
  • Monterrey, Nuevo León, México
  • Oaxaca, México
  • Panamá City, Panamá
  • Paraguaipoa, Venezuela
  • Paris, France
  • Pekin, China
  • Pernambuco, Brasil
  • Porto, Portugal
  • Puerto Rico, all over the Island
  • Río Hacha, Colombia
  • San Salvador, El Salvador
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, México

 We have invitations to lecture about this matter in the next months in:

  • Bolivia
  • China
  • Colombia
  • Dominican Republic
  • Ecuador
  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • México
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Spain

As we already mentioned, the United Nations Secretary General,  Mr. Kofi Annan was officially notified of it as were all the ambassadors to the organization, however, the decisive point is going to be in the very near future when various member nations that are working actively today with the Initiative and with the WHO will ask for a Convention of the UN to implement it.  As we mentioned repeatedly, we have not found a single opposition to the Initiative in hundreds of thousands of contacts that we have made all over the world, so we prudently can conclude that it will not find any opposition in the UN forum when it comes to the vote of the member nations.

The work that we have dedicated to this humanitarian project has not only been through the channels we already exposed, but through direct participation and work with most Latin American Societies for the Study and Treatment of Pain.  We stress to our colleagues the immense transcendentality of the Initiative to promote the Treatment of Pain to the level of one of the Fundamental Rights of Human Beings and ask them to be our ambassadors to promote the idea in their societies. This has proven to be extremely successful for all purposes.

 

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