IAPO's Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic

IAPO's Statement on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Thursday, 19 March 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director General declared COVID-19 a pandemic. COVID-19 is no longer a small outbreak affecting a few patients and local communities, nor is it a national epidemic affecting a few countries. It is now a true global pandemic affecting every community and country. 

IAPO is a non-state actor in official relationship with the WHO and represents patients worldwide. IAPO’s Patient Advocates are amongst the most health literate and capable partners in their National Health Systems. Years of capacity building and empowerment has ensured that they can participate and engage with their healthcare decision-makers in co-creating very effective preventative, curative, rehabilitative and palliative healthcare services.    

Our Patient Advocates are respected members of their communities, having navigated most of their National healthcare pathways. Far from being vulnerable, our patient advocates are resourceful and well connected with their National Healthcare Systems; their perspective and experience is a huge asset at a time like this. 

IAPO’s Board urges all Patient Experts and healthcare decision-makers to come forward and work collaboratively on all aspects of the COVID-19 to support the World Health Organization and your National effort to control this pandemic.

We are also urging all WHO Member States to adopt a human rights based approach to their public health measures. Patient experts can advise States on how to build-in patient-centred approaches to public health measures of self-isolation and other containment strategies. Remember the States’ public health obligations are indivisible from the patients’ right to health, liberty and dignity. The State must work together with Patient Experts to promote, respect and fulfil the human rights of COVID-19 patients. 

We now call for a new COVID-19 Patient Engagement Collaborative Framework that puts Patient Experts at the heart of all COVID-19 related responses and measures, including:

•    National public health consultations •    Digital and social media awareness raising, myth dispelling and motivational messaging •    Telemedicine and traditional communication information, advice and support lines •    Professional and peer support services, including community outreach programmes to support self-isolation •    Counselling and bereavement services  •    Mapping and surveillance activity •    Research and development of new vaccines and treatments •    Community response and home care

IAPO's emails reveal that our members and stakeholders have stepped in to help their national efforts to control COVID-19. Please share with us your interventions so that we can share them with other patient organisations in other countries through our social media and newsletter. You can contact us via info@iapo.org.uk and on twitter @IAPOVoice

Keep safe. Listen to your national advice and support your community members. Prevention is the best cure.  

On behalf of all us at IAPO,

Ratna Devi Chair, IAPO Board of Trustees


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IAPO COVID-19 Resource Hub