Meeting new IAPO member: Building Lives Foundation, El Salvador

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

We welcome Building Lives Foundation, El Salvador, to IAPO starting from January 2019. They have answered a few questions about their work, why they are involved in patient advocacy work and their thoughts and expectations as they join our global network.  


Why are you involved in the work that you do?

My first encounter with cancer was in 2007, when I was diagnosed with ovarian terminal cancer. The first question that came to my mind was the “logical” … Why me?  But going through the treatment I found my personal and life purpose, and the vision began with a slogan in my heart and mind: loving cancer patients.


What are the main challenges facing organizations within your area of work?  

In my country (El-Salvador – a low income country) the main challenge is finances. However, most patient organizations have the most important resource, human resource that is willing to go to the streets and love the cancer patient, as well as accompany and defend their rights. But like in everything in life, financial resources (income) is key and here in El Salvador it is still very difficult to find strategic partners and donors that support the fight against cancer. 


Why did you join IAPO?

As a cancer patients’ organization we knew of your work which benefits organizations like ours. Additionally, one of our main strategic objectives is to learn from the experts that have the knowledge and specialization, and we found it in IAPO. Thanks for accepting us as part of this great family


What does patient-centred healthcare mean to you?

 The patient must be at the centre of any health care system with the right to decide for his / herself (when he or she is able to do so). Therefore, to be ready to make decisions regarding life, he or she must be informed and aware of the consequences of the decisions they take, be treated with dignity, and must have the right treatment options for their condition.


What should the priorities be for the global patient movement over the next couple of years?

 We believe that all energies should be focused on medicines for all and advocacy. In countries like ours (low income), access to the right medicines is scarce and insufficient in most cases and lives are lost precisely due to this problem. That is why if patients’ organizations like ours, develop and unify efforts to influence public policies we can make radical changes for the benefit of our patients.


Are there any plans and events this year or resources from your organization that you would like to share with the IAPO network?

In the next few days here in El Salvador we will be going to the ballots to elect our president for the next 5 years. This has driven us to look for opportunities with the new mandate to deliver a new National Agreement Against Cancer, an advocacy effort requesting that the fight against cancer becomes a key part of the National Presidential Agenda. We are also looking for joint solutions to unify efforts to meet the objective 3.4 of the ODS: “Reduce premature mortality due to non-transmissible diseases in a third of the population by 2030 – in which cancer is included”