Posted by: ihfgeneva | November 1, 2013

Patient Solidarity Day: Calling for patient-centered care in Africa

PSD Website BannerThe IHF was proud to be an official partner of the first ever regional Patient Solidarity Day that took place in countries across Africa on October 30th. Led by members of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO), a Partner of the IHF International NGO’s Program, Patient Solidarity Day’s purpose was to call on healthcare providers to “improve lives through patient-centered healthcare.”Other official partners of the day included the International Council of Nurses and the World Medical Association, both Partners of the IHF International NGO’s Program. Patient Solidarity Day was created by patient advocates in Kenya in 2011 to call for patient-centered healthcare regardless of illness. IAPO members in Uganda marked Patient Solidarity Day in the same year and the beginning of an annual day to recognize patient-centered healthcare was born.

Currently, many healthcare systems in Africa focus on diseases rather than patients. This does not effectively address the many complex issues that Africa faces including multiple burden of disease, inequities in care, lack of necessary medicines and discrimination. According to IAPO, patient-centered care is the most effective way to address these issues. The prevalence of communicable diseases, non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS and TB may all be improved through patient-centered care. IAPO defines patient-centered care based on 5 principles: respect, choice/empowerment, patient involvement in health policy, access/support, and information. This event called on healthcare providers to provide all of these principles and ensure that patients are at the center of healthcare development.

Countries that participated in the day include Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Liberia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and South Africa. Various events took place across Africa, includinga march in Kenya to the largest referral hospital where participants delivered gifts to in-patients followed by entertainment in the hospital garden performed by leading Kenyan musicians, comedians and choirs.  Speeches and patient testimonials also occurred at the hospital garden, along with a speech by the Kenya Health Secretary. A health camp was also held in rural Uganda where patients could receive HIV testing and counseling, and talks on family planning and non-communicable diseases.

This event presented the opportunity for Africa to take steps in committing to patient-centered care. Patients in Africa must be involved in the decision-making processes that affect their healthcare and be viewed as an equal partner in the health system.

For more information about the event visit: http://www.patientsorganizations.org/showarticle.pl?id=1670

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