Meeting new board members: Bejon Misra
We will be welcoming Bejon Misra, the founder of the Consumer Online Foundation, India, to our Governing Board in August 2016. Bejon answered a few questions about his work, what he brings to IAPO and why he is involved in patient advocacy work.
Why are you personally involved in the work you do?
I am myself a patient, so are my family members and friends, and we face many challenges. I thought that if I do not speak up or mobilise the voice of patients in my country and globally, then patients facing the same barriers will continue to be denied access to safe and quality healthcare. In my country (India) and in many other developing and developed countries, patients are neglected to such an extent that they create debt or sell their assets to access healthcare and become victims of poverty and mental depression. In the last 35+ years in the Consumer Advocacy Domain I have personally observed that patients are exploited the most. Existing laws around the world are still extremely cumbersome and do not provide prompt redressal, which has compelled me to get personally involved with the patient's right to safety and access to quality healthcare.
What are some of the challenges facing patients in your region (e.g. Asia, Africa) today?
The biggest challenge is how to access quality healthcare as per standards and in an ethical manner. Healthcare service has become highly commercial and profiteering due to lack of awareness amongst patients about their own immune system and existing regulatory practices, which are unable to tackle the menace of unsafe and irrational drugs in the supply chain. Unfortunately the healthcare delivery system in Asia, Africa and other regions has become a trading business like other commodities around the world. It is no longer a socially driven activity based on values and ethical practices. The best examples are organ transplantation, medical devices, a plethora of branded medicines and the high cost of health insurance.
What’s the best thing about being an IAPO member?
In my view, we cherish the same values and empathise with each other to seek justice and find solutions to the numerous problems we face daily in our respective countries. We learn from each other on how to take care of our common challenges and raise our issues in an unified manner before global decision-makers like WHO and the UN.
Why did you apply to become a Governing Board member?
I nominated myself from India to be part of the IAPO Board because I strongly felt the need to represent the 1.25 billion citizens. I wanted a say within the various global policy-making bodies to evolve pro-patient policies so that we are not denied access to quality healthcare. No patient should be made poorer because he lacked the resources to take care of emergency healthcare needs or a disease burden, which could have been effectively managed with full healthcare coverage. India is today an emerging country and needs to be part of global healthcare initiatives, so I felt if elected I would be able to contribute for patients and their rights.
What will you bring to IAPO?
I will bring solidarity and courage to fight against the social evils which directly impact patients and their right to equality and non-discriminatory practices in the healthcare service globally. I will bring the expectations of billions of patients who are today victims of premature death and gross negligence. I will try to bring a feeling of one family amongst our members, taking care of each other and not allowing any kind of unethical practices adopted by any entity within the healthcare sector.