Manila, Philippines – October 2011

Patients are the local leaders of healthcare

Manila, Philippines, 13 October 2011 – “Patients should be the local leaders of a whole of society approach to tackling the pressing healthcare challenges of today.” This was the call of patient groups in attendance at the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO) Multi-stakeholder Seminar ‘Building cross-sector partnerships to meet patients’ needs in Asia-Pacific’. The Seminar was held in coordination with the World Health Organization (WHO) and with the local support of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO).

The IAPO Seminar considered how to work in partnership with different healthcare stakeholders to address the two challenges of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and patient safety.  Both issues pose a significant threat to the health and well-being of patients. 60 people die every minute from an NCD worldwide, with 2.5 million deaths a year in South-East Asia alone. WHO estimates that people living in South-East Asia receive more than 5 injections per year and 50% of the injections are ‘unsafe’.

Patient group representatives in an IAPO workshop the same day on: ‘Partnership and collaboration: working together to raise the patient voice in the Western Pacific and South-East Asia’ highlighted the top three challenges facing healthcare delivery in the region. A strong consensus formed around the themes of; healthcare knowledge and the need for cross sector education, improving access to quality healthcare services and treatments, and readdressing the balance between healthcare providers and patients. These challenges were taken into the multi-stakeholder seminar.

The patient group participants at the Seminar felt strongly that their work in addressing these challenges and delivering essential support to patients is not afforded the significance it deserved. In the Western Pacific and South-East Asia Regions, patient groups are providing services that range from supporting patients in managing their conditions and providing education, to advocating for change and yet are not recognised formally by the healthcare system. Their sustainability depends on obtaining this recognition and being included as an integral component of the system 

At the Seminar, attendees were encouraged to hear that the Philippines Department of Health is considering including patient representatives on working groups and policy committees and exploring ways to provide financial support for the services they provide. This was explained by the Assistant Secretary of State for Health in the Philippines, Dr Paulyn Jean R. Ubial. This is an aspiration which urgently needs to become a reality in policy and in practice, not only in the Philippines but across the Asia-Pacific region. The Seminar participants agreed that patient advocates are best informed to meet the needs of the communities they represent and, with the cooperation of all stakeholders, we can achieve meaningful action on NCDs and patient safety.


Note to Editors:

About IAPO: IAPO is the only global alliance representing patients of all nationalities across all disease areas and promoting patient-centred healthcare worldwide.  Our members are patients’ organizations working at the local, national, regional and international levels to represent and support patients, their families and carers. IAPO has over 200 members which span over 50 countries and 50 disease areas and through its membership represents an estimated 365 million patients worldwide. IAPO is in official relations with WHO.

View the Press Release online

For further information, please contact:

Mr Jeremiah Mwangi, Policy and External Affairs Director, IAPO

T: +44 20 7721 7508; Email:


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