Betty Naiga
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Living with cancer: Betty's story

The lack of access to pain relief for dying patients around the world is a public health emergency, according to doctors specialising in caring for people who are terminally ill.

The BBC has seen figures suggesting almost 17 million people died in unnecessary pain in 2012, partly because governments refused to allow them access to powerful painkillers such as morphine.

The Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance says the restrictions on these drugs are in place because of exaggerated fears about patients becoming addicted.

Betty Naiga from Uganda was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago.

She lived in agony with an enormous tumour on her breast for a whole year, until a hospice volunteer found her in her home in a nearby village in a terrible state.

Betty then started receiving chemotherapy and access to pain relief, but sadly lost her battle last month.

Speaking before her death, Betty shared her story with the BBC's Global Health reporter Tulip Mazumdar.

  • 02 Jun 2014
  • From the section Health