Meeting in India

Patient empowerment is the key to a better healthcare system

New Delhi, India,– “It is time that we came together as one voice” was the call from Dr Ratna Devi, CEO, DakshamA Health & Education Foundation, to patients’ organizations gathered at IAPO’s first multi-stakeholder seminar held in South-East Asia.

The seminar entitled, ‘Meeting patients’ needs in South-East Asia – effective strategies for tackling NCDs and improving patient safety’, explored relevant issues in healthcare systems and patients’ needs from around the region.

The seminar brought together patient group representatives, policy-makers, healthcare professionals, civil society and industry representatives from India, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Two key healthcare issues were discussed, namely non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and patient safety. During the seminar, participants identified that, no matter what condition they have, from cancer to multiple sclerosis, from country to country, from urban to rural, they encounter similar challenges which prevent patients gaining access to safe, quality and affordable healthcare.

Within the NCD panel, Dr Damodar Bachani, Director Professor and Head of the Department of Community Medicine at Lady Hardinge Medical College Medical College and Associated Hospitals, presented an exciting roadmap to prevent and control NCDs in India and reduce morbidity. During the session on patient safety, Bejon Misra, Founder of the Partnership for Safe Medicines, highlighted key points for the development of healthcare systems, including the need for them to be accountable to patients.

Participants highlighted the need to empower and educate patients and healthcare professionals, and to promote patient safety and quality healthcare through partnerships. “Working together is the best way to counter challenges in healthcare and work towards a better future” said Nilanjana Maulik, National Secretary General, Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders Society of India (ARDSI).

At the end of the seminar, participants concluded that patient-centred healthcare could only be realised if patients are fully empowered and involved in partnerships to develop and deliver healthcare solutions that address patients’ needs. Kin-ping Tsang, IAPO Chair, summed up the discussion by stating that, “patients’ organizations in South-East Asia are able to make contributions to the design and delivery of healthcare if they are supported and empowered by other stakeholders in the sector.”

The speakers included:

– Dileep Kumar, President, Indian Nursing Council

– Prafull Sheth, Vice President, International Pharmaceutical Federation

– Christine Perera, Patients for Patient Safety Champion, Sri Lanka

The seminar was part of a series of events this week in New Delhi, supported and led by IAPO and its local organising partners, which also includes a comprehensive workshop for patients’ organizations from around the South-East Asian region.

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