In the United States, drugmakers have flooded the market with powerful, sophisticated opioids. And that's fueled an epidemic of addiction. But across Africa many patients can't afford even mild painkillers — let alone medications to help people in extreme pain.
Uganda has come up with a solution that goes back to basics with one of the world's original painkillers: morphine.
The government mixes a powdered form of the drug with water to create a drinkable analgesic that officials say has provided patients with effective relief without giving rise to widespread addiction. Just as important, it's cheap.
At a medical clinic in the capital, Kampala, Nurse Resty Nakanwagi pulls out two bottles of the stuff and sets them on a table in front of a patient.
"So, this is the morphine," Nakanwagi says. "You are going to take this every four hours, okay? Then at night you make it a double dose."
Nakanwagi typically provides a two-week supply of the liquid for patients to drink at home.