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.