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IAPO Member Roundtable - Geneva, Switzerland - 20 May 2013
On 20 May 2013, following IAPO Annual General Meeting, IAPO members in attendance gathered for a roundtable to consider: “How can patients’ organizations improve policies that affect access to healthcare, from local to global levels?” Chaired by Jo Groves, IAPO CEO, fifteen IAPO members shared their insights into patient involvement in policy development at national, regional and international levels.

Jeremiah Mwangi, Policy and External Affairs Director, IAPO, gave an overview of IAPO’s role in global health policy and access. This was followed by Carol Bennett, IAPO Governing Board Member and Executive Director, Consumers Health Forum of Australia, who spoke on the role of patients’ organizations in supporting the development of national policies.

Following Carol’s presentation, participants discussed the role of patients’ organizations in contributing to healthcare policy and the value they can bring. Participants highlighted that evidence is needed to demonstrate how patients can contribute to healthcare solutions. All stakeholders must come together to work towards patient-centred improvements to healthcare policies.

Participants shared examples of patient-involvement in policy and their implications, which included: 

  • The creation of a patient forum by the Ministry of Health in Lithuania
  • Collaboration of the Consumer Health Forum with the Australian government on cost-cutting and discussions for a patient-centred health budget
  • The development of an educational platform in Europe to enable patients to define the burden of their disease
  • The National Health Council's development of a model for patients’ organizations to act as “stake brokers” to bring together healthcare stakeholders in the USA
  • Advocacy in Uganda for an increase to health financing; this is an issue in many countries throughout the world, particularly low and middle income countries
  • Polish patient groups achieving compensation for adverse events and improved patient information through collaboration with policy-makers

The discussion closed with participants sharing reflections on the value that patients bring to the policy forum and the need to measure this impact to strengthen the involvement of patients globally. Information on IAPO's next Member Roundtable will be published later this year.

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