Ecomedicine: information, autonomy, participation and freedom of choice on health

This Entry has been submitted.

Ecomedicine: information, autonomy, participation and freedom of choice on health

Brazil
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

A Web Portal and News Agency to provide information, generate interactivity and foster participation to ensure the right to health assistance. Traditional medicines promoted as safe alternatives in the promotion of individual and collective health. Discussions held on freedom of choice towards health – such as citizenship, promotion of informed decisions and autonomy.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Users of Traditional Medicines lack safe references around the benefits of their use for promotion and preservation of human, animal and vegetal life, at individual and collective levels. They also lack access to information on the contributions to sustainability, helping to alleviate the current planetary crisis. Reliable information strengthens individual choice before initiatives devised to erode its credit from interests from pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. We contribute to strengthen the informed decisions, encourage user autonomy and citizen participation. We reinforce the notion that everybody has a right to choose what he/she judges beneficial to him/herself; choices may differ, since every individual is unique; it is important to have a critic vision of the commercial interests involved with the products offered on the health market.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We innovate and make things differently when we bring on to the Brazilian society the discussions over the implications of democratic compromise on health as an important issue to alleviate the planetary environmental crisis. The technological hegemony represents high costs to national budgets, which reduces access to health rights. On the Web Portal and News Agency Ecomedicina we combine respect to diversity of species to respect to diversity of knowledge, pointing traditional ways of healthcare as a domain of safe knowledge on life preservation. The ecological balance is not different from the existing concept of individual state of health from the Tradictional Medicines (MT). By rescuing similarities we encourage individual responsibility towards the preservation of life, human and planetary alike. By providing information we encourage free and responsible choices. We work to increase access to MT, preserving vital resources and reducing privileges, promoting respect to differences and individual freedom to ensure universal and equal rights on healthcare. About 70% of the population is deprived of the right to choose due to the lack of access and dependence from public services. We choose to fix this iniquity by supporting a public policy, the National Policy on Integrative Practices (PNPIC). We provide information to encourage citizen participation, democratize healthcare and create a commitment in society towards responsible life preservation practices.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

a) Implementation of the Homeopathy as a Right for All (HDT) Campaign, which generated 42 public manifestations, distribution of over 16,000 newspapers and production of over 500 news articles on the subject in many medias. b) Creation of the Homeopathy as a Right for All petition, a legal instrument that enables every citizen to actively participate. Over 150 volunteers collect signatures to request implementation of the public policy, consolidation of numbers from the popular demand and estimation of the need for investments. c) Petiition available electronically with over 5,500 signatures. d) Electronic access to the forms for signature collection, enabling participation of citizens from many cities e) Classification of all forms by cities, totaling 3,412 f) Collection of over 90,000 signatures, reaching over 400 municipalities, indicating that popular interest goes beyond the current 157 municipalities where there is public assistance provided. g) Support from 163 Citizen Sector Organizations as institutional signatures. h) Request to the National Health Council asking for recognition of the petition HDT as a “Demand Registration Instrument”, valid to contribute to parameter definition for investment of public resources. i) Development of a social commitment certificate for companies that promote the campaign as a mechanism to get resources to ensure its sustainability. 24 companies received the certificate j) Creation, execution and maintenance, since September 2009, of the Ecomedicine Web Portal as a means for information and citizen participation, generating around 100 news, 200 testimonials and 20,000 visits.
About You
Organization:
Sociedade de Homeopatia Ação Pelo Semelhante
Section 1: You
Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name

Sociedade de Homeopatia Ação Pelo Semelhante

Organization Phone

21.2255-1934

Organization Address

Álvaro Alvim Street 37/ 1608

Organization Country

, RJ

Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on
Innovation
Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
Actions

To form a team made of journalists specialized in Traditional Medicines (MT) and social marketing, so they are able to – oriented by the similarities between social and environmental sustainability and the concept of integrated human health from MT – collect and research information to create news to inform users and the general public. We provide information on: application of MT around the world; benefits and advantages to human, animal and vegetal health, at individual and collective levels; training of human resources on MT (undergraduation and graduation), investments and research; impact of interventions in public health.
To develop partnerships to create social networks to mobilize the public for the defense of their rights on public health and MT specifically.
To encourage, participate and promote public initiatives to ensure the rights of the users of MT.

Results

To increase access to MT in public assistance. To provide information on MT to inform the users and request implementation of PNPIC. To reunite leaders and interested people. To consolidate Ecomedicina as a reference information vehicle for MT, generating reliable data and encouraging informed decisions and participation. To increase local and institutional leaders of the campaign. To articulate a networf of local and institutional leaders. To strengthen the representation of institutions and interested public in assistance. To consolidate the collected signaturs as a criterion to translate popular demand and the importance of representation institutions. To constitute a council to monitor PNPIC implementation. To raise awareness among political leaders to voice the needs of the people who use MT. To consolidate HDT Campaign as a basis for a Constitution Amendment to ensure rights of MT-user population.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

First year: to create a team of professionals able to generate news, encourage participation and develop connections with Citizen Sector Organizations that are sympathetic or interested in homeopathy. To consolidate Ecomedicina Web Portal as a reference for information and promotion of citizenship among the homeopathic sector. To attract participation of professionals, companies and institutions to act as: leaders of the campaign HDT integrated to the Professionals & Services Registry (for users in search for those); aadvertisers of the Web Portal as references for reliable information and participation instruments for the campaign; financial supporters as Campaign Friends for people and Social Stamp for organizations.
Second year: to integrate technical staff from Chinese Traditional Medicine and Phytotherapy into the team and widen the scope of news and information, participation initiatives from users and sympathizers, and develop articulation with organizations in the sector. Consolidate Ecomedicina Portal as a reference for news, participation and representation for these MT for professionals, companies and institutions. To attract participation of professionals, companies and institutions to act as: leaders of the campaign HDT integrated to the Professionals & Services Registry (for users in search for those); aadvertisers of the Web Portal as references for reliable information and participation instruments for the campaign; financial supporters as Campaign Friends for people and Social Stamp for organizations.
To consolidate the Rights Defense Movement as a request from society for equity focusing in: university environment – aiming to ensure the right to information freedom for students from health areas; parliament representatives at municipal, state and federal levels, with the goal of generating legislation and execution inititatives to ensure equality on assistance for all users; creation of the PNPIC Assessment Council and the Parliamentary Front to propose the needed initiatives in order to the Constitutional Amendment to be approved.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Lack of a strategic plan to orient the priority actions to: acquire credibility and consolidation as a communication reference; achieve sustainability; articulate and reunite the target audiences; generate citizen initiatives and public participation; manage and operate the Web Portal; generate information and content; participate in political actions to promote integrated practices in public schools.
Lack of material means to form a technical team that is able to develop and implement a communication and advertisement strategy to: reach the interested audiences and people who would benefit from the HDT Campaign; point out the advantages and benefits that can be achieved by the demonstration of the popular demand; highlight the results of the planned actions for Ecomedicina as a news agency and encouragement to citizen participation.
Lack of material means to hire and maintain the technical team that will develop and implement the work processes in the diverse action fronts for the time necessary to consolidate the tools to acquire resources to ensure sustainability for Ecomedicina actions.
Difficulties in communications with the benefitted audiences, which could limit the demonstration of the expected results and advantages, reducing engagement of collaborators to sustain the Web Portal and Campaign promotion.

How many people will your project serve annually?

More than 10,000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$50 - 100

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for less than a year

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

Yes

If yes, provide organization name.

Sociedade de Homeopatia Ação Pelo Semelhante

How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

No

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

No

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Our work aims to raise awareness of the society to the existence of a problem that remains invisible to the majority of people. To ensure equality of rights for the minority that chooses MT in public assistance implies influencing opinions and mobilizing the interested people to fight for them. To achieve that purpose, we have to greatly increase advertisement of the available tools to do that. To increase advertisement we need to build articulation with public and private sectors with known actions favoring life improvements to the public and democratic governance. Each of these agents maintains permanent communication with its public and is able to influence their opinions and mobilize them to to adopt a pro-active attitude in defense of their social rights. In this particular issue all organizations and institutions are important as partners, as each one represents a part of the society and has different resources to contribute with.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

I. To build and consolidate Ecomedicina as a channel for reliable information and reference for news on MT among the main information vehicles and news agencies in the country. We need to identify the media professionals who work wity news on health, economics and health, ecology and sustainability, and provide them with quality information on MT, highlighting the advantages, benefits and contributions to decrease individual or collective health problems, as well as social and environmental problems, some of which were news material in the past.
II. To establish relationships with public and private organizations with known actions favoring life improvements to the public and democratic governance, in order to create partnerships to advertise the campaign. We need to provide information on the many restrictions of rights regarding MT and highlight PNPIC as an adequate public policy to fix the iniquities, demonstrating the importance of society participation to strengthen it. We also need to highlight Ecomedicina as a news agency and a means for providing information and encouraging citizenship that would be available to advertise activities from the partner institutions.
III. To influence opinions and mobilize interested people to fight for equality of rights to choose MT in public assistance. We need to develop social marketing actions focused on the general public, professionals, related companies and MT users, showing the current state of iniquities, its disadvantages to the many segments, and PNPIC as an adequate public policy to fix them and the reasons why everybody should participate and the goals to be pursued.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Ecomedicina as a news agency and informational internet portal that advertises benefits and advantages of Traditional Medicines came to my mind during the Public Policies Journalism course I took in Communication Faculty from UFRJ, when I met and studied the history and work processes of the Childhood Rights News Agency. The problem the faced was the need to advertise an innovative procedure and overcome resistances originated from the lack of information and distorted information broadcast by the media. I also recognized this as an extremely similar problem to the one we faced in advertising Homeopathy and the HDT Campaign. I understood the importance of reuniting the diversity of MT based in a common interest: to defend respect to minorities and the right to choose of users of public services through providing news and reliable information on the results for health and planetary sustainability.
Considering PNPIC as an innovation in Brazilian health, as a response to a WHO demand for inclusion and diversity, as a means to provide equality in health rights, we can understand the need for a modern concept that can be assimilated by contemporary cultural movements. Ecomedicina comes from big similarities of notions and conceptions of life and the universe shared by Ecology, Homeopathy and other MT, and the democratic governance. Democratic principles: respect to individual differences and minority rights as similar to the concepts of respect to biological diversity and ecosystems. Conception of “systemic balance” as similar to “state of health”. So there it was a modern and strong argument, able to benefit from the contemporary diffusion of its central elements, as promoted by the culture for social and environmental sustainability that is now present all around the world. Allied to participation as an expression of individual and collective responsibility in the promotion of new values in education for citizenship. In 2009 Ecomedicina comes as a new project that refreshes and amplifies the campaign for defense of rights and equality of acess for users of public services to have therapeutical choice, increasing the possibilities for partnerships and attraction of new users, which are essential elements to show demand for a redemocratization of health. Ecomedicina is a news agency, web portal for information and promotion of citizenship, reference of services and reliable information, oriented by the importance of ensuring safety in health decisions.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

A son of spiritist public servants, I was educated to serve and be useful. As a student of a catholic and liberal school, I was encouraged to practice autonomy and leadership, with active participation in Student Representation. I entered medical school and in the first 2 years I have lived outside of my home city, which was important to learn to have an independent life. In medica school I can highlight 2 internship years and 1 year residence in a Hospital for Infections and Parasite Diseases, a place very poor in all technological resources, where I had the company of a master in clinical exams, preparing me to be a doctor “anywhere in the country”. Simultaneously, I worked as an intern in clinical pathologies, specialized in bacteria cultures and serum diagnosis exams. I believed I was doing the “medical math”: the disease caused by the bug and the specific drug to eliminate it. Questions and contradictions in the carthesian logic of medicine, long since noted, made me discover Homeopathy and took me to study in Argentine. There was no formation for Homeopathic doctors in Brazil.
My return, in 1980, made me join other colleagues who studied abroad to found a course to spread what we learnt. I acted for 18 years as a professor and director in a school for homeopathy doctors, having done activities as a volunteer to provide homeopathic assistance to thepublic. At the same time I worked to consolidate representation of this professional class, an education supply and to institutionalize homeopathy as a public practice. Ten years ago I founded Action for Our Fellows, an organization with a mission of providing homeopathic assistance to the population in social and economic disadvantage and ensure the right of access to homeopathy. In 2002 I participated in the process of writing the text of PNPIC. In May 2006, when PNPIC was published, I identified gaps, omission of resources and monitoring criteria that compromised the implementation of the proposal. After consultation with the Public Ministry I wrote the petition tja originated the HDT Campaign, for which I developed principles for collection of signatures based on the municipalization of public health, building a basis to recognize it as an instrument to demonstrate demand and foster social control. In these 30 years as a homeopathic doctor I was convinced of the iniquity in which students, preofessionals and homeopathy users are inserted, as well as the other Traditional Medicines. This iniquity is a consequence of the ignorance about individual rights and minority rights – which are invisible today.
--
Son of public servants, student from a catholic school, graduated in Medical School with internship in Infections and Parasite Diseases, post-graduated in Homeopathy in Argentina, founder, professor and director of a homeopathy school for doctors. Was part of the board of: Instituto Hahnemanniano do Brasil, Comissão de Educação, Conselho de Entidades Formadoras, Associação Médica Homeopática Brasileira, Câmara Técnica de Homeopatia do Conselho Regional de Medicina do RJ.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Personal contact at Changemakers

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company

50 words or fewer