East meets West through a «Jacket»


While patient advocates in the US prepare today for the inauguration of the Partnership WITH Patients conference, in Kansas City, some thousand miles across the pond, other patient advocates from the Central & Eastern Europe and other European countries gathered in Sofia, Bulgaria, today and tomorrow to discuss the health inequalities in the new EU member states and how these can be overcome, so that patients may have access to treatments they badly need.

1st day’s wrap-up session

The speakers today have done a great work to gather data that prove that the citizens of the poorest European countries have also the most limited access to healthcare and to new therapies the lowest number of health professionals, the highest mortality. The fact is that in many regions of the new EU member states citzens simply cannot afford healthcare…We had the opportunity to hear what is the situation and the problems in these countries and there is no doubt that their problems are not unique. They are the problems faced when very low or no investments are made in healthcare and when people have money only for their very basic needs.

During the discussions that followed the presentations, I raised the point that nowadays European patients from the Atlantic to Black Sea all suffer from shortage of medicines, of access to new innovative medicines because they are very expensive, and from deterioration of healthcare services due to the spending cuts imposed on healthcare budgets as a result of the economic crisis.  The speakers stressed the need  that  all «partners»  in healthcare and governments work together for accessible, reliable, socially sensitive healthcare systems.

Tomorrow,  we will spend the day in three workshops to discuss what needs to be done and to make proposals on the assistance to be sought from the European Commission.

Luz, young doctor from Colombia, working with pharma in London, came to Sofia to attend the conference

«The Victim of the Game» was a focal point. During the day, one or two delegates told me they liked my Jacket! Then, I explained it is not a purchased jacket, it’s a present!

I told them the story of my Jacket, and they could not understand how I and Regina Holliday, who had not met before,  got to know each other and collaborate for the Jacket!  They could not believe that we met on social media, and that despite I have not yet met Regina, I feel like she is an old friend of mine…The magic of social media..

In the afternoon, and at the dinner, a few more dared to compliment me about my Jacket. I told them the story and that tomorrow at the time we will leave Sofia, some 190 » Jackets» will walk downtown in Kansas City and «TheWalkingGallery» will display the stories painted on the backs of their business jackets. I told them that The Walking Gallery will inaugurate another patient advocates conference, the Partnership with Patients  to discuss what needs to be done to heal healthcare.

Wishing success to the Partnership with Patients conf. that will start tomorrow, while the conference in Sofia closes, I would like to remind you that despite the region of where they live, all patients need accessible, safe, reliable healthcare and compassion.

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