On August 18, 2016, the Indian Alliance of Patient Groups (IAPG) achieved an important milestone. After several years of planning, the alliance has gained momentum and the notice of many stakeholders including Government of India officials, other civil society organizations and coalitions, industry and the medical community who were all represented at the IAPG roundtable.
From its inception IAPG has set out to build an alliance of patient groups representing diverse diseases to speak with one voice and to recognize the important role patients and patient groups must play to ensure optimal patient centred healthcare across India. Since its official launch in Mumbai, on the 8th of October 2015, the IAPG has been invited to participate in several coalitions, present at numerous healthcare forums and be involved in many discussions with disease specific NGOs about the need to build advocacy capacity. The intention is to support both government and private sector efforts toward a robust and accessible healthcare system that benefits patients, policy-makers and healthcare providers across India.
IAPG has also captured public attention on social media.
The August 18th roundtable alone attracted 184,000 views on the IAPG Facebook page and over 400,000 impressions and reached an audience of over 150,000 in India via Twitter.
While progress has been made, there is much more that needs to be done.
IAPG must continue to build its membership to be an effective, national advocacy organization with grassroots support. A broad base of support will increase networks and connections and provide varied expertise. And strength in numbers leads to increased credibility and access to government and media.
According to the IAPG founding members, the alliance will move forward by:
• Actively networking with other patient organizations
• Collaborating with medical institutes, medical professionals and researchers
• Dialoguing with industry and policy makers
• Supporting human rights activists
• Partnering with international organizations such as IAPO
• Raising patient voices
• Drafting guidelines on key health issues
• Running capacity building workshops for smaller/new organizations
• Organizing patient satisfaction surveys
• Raising awareness of National/International Days
• Participating and collaborating with individual organizations in academic or public activities
There will be many challenges for the alliance as it moves forward, but with strong leadership, a clear mission, a sharp focus on its objectives, and support from a variety of stakeholders, it shall continue to make progress that could lead to real positive change for patients across India.
For more information about the Indian Alliance of Patient Groups, see the Facebook page.