Patients' University

This Entry has been submitted.

Patients' University

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Our goal is to give empowerment to the patients who have a motivation and potential to be liders in advocacy of cancer. We would provide them training and especial workshops, so they end the year with enought knowledge and information to be able to communicate this to other patients, making the network bigger and bigger. We try to promote acces to health, cancer control and obtain real changes

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Peru is a country that needs to improve in many important matters, and one of them is health care and related issues inside the health system. Right now there is a change inside the health system, which has not been adequately prepared: many patients with chronic diseases are the first ones who are affected by these changes, by not receiving their medicines on time or not receiving them at all and other problems. The problem with the main importance is, like I have just pointed out, the lack of medications. Esperantra has as a primarily goal to improve the quality of life of cancer patients, promote health and fight for the recognition of the patients' rights to gain access to timely diagnosis, treatment and safety, by influencing public policies that encourage the development and recognition of health as a fundamental right to all Peruvians. Unfortunately it is not easy, especially in a country like ours. But this is the reason why we truly believe in this project, because we believe that a change needs to start from the patients, and we need to empower them in order to make a change.

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

Peru is a country that needs to improve in many important matters, and one of them is health care and related issues inside the health system. Right now, our country is in the middle of a change of the health system, but unfortunately, this idea has not been developed right, and that is why most of the patients with chronic diseases are the ones affected. cancer is consider a chronic disease that is specially delicate, because it affects the body so much that the patient feels frequently fatigued, and this may cause depression in a great part of them. We are compromised in making actions, with no further delay, to respond to the health needs of the patients. And this includes not only their physical health, but also their emotional health. We educate, give support and provide advocacy to our patients in as many ways as we can. Right now it is important to prioritize the development of a strong health system, which could only be achieved with a strong network of patients and a coalition of health workers. This is important because there is a breach between the actual activities that are taking place in the health system, and the way it should be organized. Unfortunately, our organization counts with not enough financial resources to help our patients at the level we would like to give advocacy, and this is because it is very difficult to achieve this in a country like Peru. We truly believe that we need to empower the patients to make a change, because they do not feel they can make a change; they do not feel they are the center of attention because of the way they are treated in hospitals, and the lack of interest they experiment comming from the people who are supposed to help them.
Impact: How does it Work

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

We have had a possitive impact on our patients: they are very excited about the project and their participation is very active. They have comprommised to come to the meetings, and they are doing what we wanted from the beggining: to inform other patients (and also friends and family) about what they learn in the workshops, so the network not only gets bigger but it also gets stronger. Our impact is not very remarkable yet because we do not have enought economic resourses to capture more patients and to purchase the necessary material for all the patients. But with the small group of patients we have, we have experienced that the impact with them is very good, and on a large scale, it would demostrate a great change. This is because a very big network of patients is equal to a big movement that has social implications, because the patients will end up to stand for their rights, which is our final goal.
About You
Section 1: You
First Name

Eva Maria

Last Name

Ruiz de Castilla

Website URL



, LI

Section 2: Your Organization
Organization Name


Organization Phone

+51 1 2215518

Organization Address

Av. Petit Thouars 4534 Interior 5 - Miraflores

Organization Country

, LI

Your idea
Country and state your work focuses on

, LI

Do you have a patent for this idea?


Right now, we are putting all our strengths in trying to help our patients by providing them the necessary tools and knowledge so they will be able to stand for their rights and have the treatment they must have comming from the health system: good communication of their needs, their disease and treatment, centred care, etc. This has been working very well with the compromissed group, but in order to make a great change we need to extend our patients' network as a regional and global level


As we pointed out in the Problem, Peru is a country that needs to improve in many important matters, and one of them is health care and related issues inside the health system only 26% of population have some insurance system. But as we have also pointed out, our results have been really good until now; the patients demostrate that they are interested and this is really important, because the project wants them to be empowered so they can take actions by themselves. Part of the possitive results are that they want a change, and are interested in making it by joining themselves in the same cause: achieving the medication they are prescripted. We know this is difficult to achieve, but not impossible. And we seem to be closer to that goal every time more patients get involved in the project.

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

In spite of the lack of resources, our compromise is to change the frightening facts and figures of cancer in Peru. We want the patient to be informed and that they can be the vector for information towards their family and the community and that their testimonial can be used as an example so that other people can have an opportune diagnostic.
It is a terrible situation to see the majority of cases arriving at the hospital with at the terminal phase and with terrible diagnoses due to the lack of information.
It is important to mention the lack of access to treatments in Peru: every hour 5 Peruvians get sick of cancer and 19 women will die because of this desease. Actually more than 50,000 women suffer breast cancer. The detection of breast cancer at the first stage is only 11%, at second stage 29%, at third stage 52%!, and the last stage 8%. For us is a real problem the late detection combined with the lack of resources to help the people.
We believe education and access to information and network building are a key element for cancer control, not only for patients, but for young and old people, from schools, to work, to churches to hospitals, in public and private institutions and most of all for health promoters around the country, doctors and nurses, and many other civil organizations which have a strong potential to mobilize and spread the information and promote prevention and respect of the rights in their networks.
This is a long term project that would not be achieved in a year. We believe this will be successful in the next three years because it has started as a successful project in 2007; we see our patients interested and they want to fight for their rights. The network of patients who are interested is going to grow because they will follow the patients who they seem to be empowered, and the energy and the desire for a change will make them try this (if they are not very "convinced" in the beginning). In the end, the amount of patients will be big enought to make pressure to make more difficult changes be achieved.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

The current situation of Cancer in Peru is very critical, in average there are 42 thousand new cases diagnosed each year of which 27 thousand are patients that do not have access to any treatment or palliative care.
In 2005, Esperantra was founded to fill the gap created by the absence of an organization representing and catalyzing the needs of cancer patients in Peru. For this reason one of the initial objectives of the organization was to create 4 patient associations . During the 1st National Patient Meeting in 2007 a Cancer Patient Coalition was formed.
Our strategies of work include: The fight for the rights of Cancer patients to have access to quality treatments, to palliative care, psychological support, propose leadership schooling, and the transformation of the common beliefs about cancer by spreading the message that ¨Cancer detected on time can be cured¨. We have to continue our work in this direction in order to achieve greater awareness at society level.
In our national meetings we count with the participation of approximately 450/12000 of patients with access to treatments and we hope to continue expanding and informing more patients. The inadequate collaboration of the gouvernement, the resistance and inactivity of the concerned institutions, the medical drug traffic and the existence and use of drugs without the necessary bioequivalence research, gave us the impulse to present a Protection Law for health care users which is currently being discussed at the Congress of the Republic.
Esperantra needs financial support to respond to these problems happening right now in the health system, and it is important to take urgent action so we would be able to make a change. This will help us contact experts in the subjects in the workshops for the patients. Also, the required materials for each patient and every other necessity we may found in the way. It is of main importance to make the patients feel empowered and to keep that feeling there.

How many people will your project serve annually?


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?


What stage is your project in?

Operating for 1‐5 years

In what country?

, LI

Is your initiative connected to an established organization?


If yes, provide organization name.

American Cancer Society

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?


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


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


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

Approximately 150 words left (1200 characters).

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

-Economic resourses
-Excellent trainers for the workshops
-Tools, infrastructure for the workshops, materials, etc.

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

We start our project saying: Cancer is an special condition but the patient never going to be a victim always we need to be proactive, positive and propositive, "nunca decir porque a mi, sino para que"
In Peru cancer is the third leading cause of death, every year 40,000 new cases are detected, only a 50% of them can access to any kind of healthcare service, the other 50% will not have any information and will die without acces of any health system.
The people with cancer are part of the exclusion, marginalization and discrimination group, more than 60% of the cases has not access to any kind of diagnosis or treatment and they live the stigma of the disease with their human rights constantly violated.
Cancer is a disease when is detected early with an early screening can be cured, in Peru 64% of the cases diagnosed arrive in advanced stages, if we develop a prevention culture with healthy habits, it can be avoid or turn it into a chronic disease with quality of life.
In Peru there is a low degree of organization of people with cancer, a poor knowledge of their rights to an appropriate treatment and the ways of prevent, as well as an insufficient capacity to make them know.
The citizen participation of people with cancer will be valuable to strengthen the democratic governance and the exercise citizenship enhances the enjoyment of their rights and freedom.
The proposal responds to the most urgent needs of people with cancer without protection of their rights to an appropriate treatment, access to specialized information, prevention programs including responsible attention to diagnosed patient and the promotion of healthy life habits.
I have always seem worried about the fact that there are many inadequate solutions suggested by people in charge of important institutions. The health system is one of them. It has many breaches to be filled, but right now we are dealing with a problem which is especially important because the rights of the patients are being directly affected. This made me think about the importance of empowering them, give them the necessary tools so they would be able to defend themselves by the real voice of empowering patients knowing the importance of dignity and the respect of their rights...

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

The experiences I have had in the last 10 years of professional experience have been very different, all linked to development, always in the sense of collaborating with the improvement of quality of life of people, intercultural exchange and dialogue that determine the needs of communities, including them in the planning of participatory development, in different sectors such as health, agriculture, education, among others. My professional profile allows me to know that this project is viable, but only with a strong effort. I possess excellent communication skills, dialogue and conflict resolution. I commit with what I do in a responsible way, working under pressure and extreme conditions. I am committed to push this project as far as, and I know this will be possible thanks to the multicultural training I have received throughout my life and the previous experience I have had.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Web Search (e.g., Google or Yahoo)

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

50 words or fewer