Every two weeks an update is published of the Hub initiative. Hubs are created in Brazil, Uruguay, Costa Rica, New England (USA), Armenia, Egypt, Kenia, Nigeria and Ghana (Africa), Singapore, Australia and elsewhere.
“What does the cancer world learn from non-Western countries?” and “What does Inspire2Live do for non-Western countries”? These were questions raised at our latest Inspire2Live annual congress in January 2020. Definitely not enough, it was concluded. Time for action!
Since the start of Inspire2Live in 2011 we have always worked with the best researchers in North America and Europe. Cancer has no borders, we reasoned, all countries, all continents have to deal with cancer. They all have their own challenges and urgencies but there’s also a lot that we have in common with other nations and cultures. We can do better by learning more from each other, executing what we already know in more places and help each other to enhance research, improve quality of care, stimulate advocacy and raise awareness. Always with the strive for reciprocity, the building block for all participation and interaction.
One of our Patient Advocates brought up the idea to create hubs all over the world. Not only in Europe and North America but likewise and with equal urgency in Latin America, Africa, The Middle East and , North and South Asia, Australia. We embraced the idea full heartedly and got to work.
This update will be about the progress we made for the Africa hub. More updates with other continents and nations will follow.
For I2L PharmAccess is the natural entrance to the African world for us. Their infrastructure and way of working in Africa has been very successful to get the HIV medicine to all corners of the African continent. Nowadays they go far beyond HIV and they are for example introducing solutions for general health insurance in Africa. They kindly introduced us to several professors/doctors/researchers in Kenia, Nigeria and Ghana. Every one of them doing amazing things in Africa, also in the field of oncology. They build hospitals, organize events or visit market places and churches to create awareness for cancer. Their lives are dedicated to helping cancer patients.
Africa has to deal with big issues with regards to cancer. There’s hardly any screening, diagnostics is often haphazard and access to treatments is dismal for a lot of patients. Probably one of the most urgent needs is palliative care. People die in pain, often at home. Generally, more points of care are needed and more knowledge about different medication options, better access and improved capacity of trained health workers are necessary in order to deal with the big issues.
Inspire2Live has affiliated two people who are working practically non-stop to improve availability and quality of pain management for cancer in its latest stages. Dr Khama Rogo brought up the idea to work on a pain management webinar with the aim to educate health workers on this topic and learn from each other. Is the medication that we have available in Europe and the USA useful for Africa? Are they available, affordable, what are the techniques for treatment that are feasible?
This webinar will be a first initiative for what we think will become a fruitful collaboration with Africa. It may be our first stepping stone to further and better actions for cancer patients all over the world.
Ilona Schelle & Jan Gerrit Schuurman
Patient Advocates Inspire2Live