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CANSA Advocacy – Enhancing Partnerships and Alliances

CANSA Advocacy – Enhancing Partnerships and Alliances

2018 – 2019

Fighting for Affordable Medicines – Fix the Patent Law Campaign

CANSA, together with the Cancer Alliance, Doctors Without Borders, Treatment Action Campaign, Section 27 and other stakeholder representatives are advocating to influence and amend the Patent law that will result in more affordable medicine for cancer and other chronic patients. CANSA is represented on the steering committee.

In May 2018, we celebrated the landmark move by the South African government, after years of advocacy efforts by civil society through the Fix the Patent Laws campaign, to release a new intellectual property policy that will stop the country’s process of blindly handing out patents, providing hope to people who cannot afford the medicines they need. The policy is a first big step to amend the country’s patent law in favour of public health. Fix the Patent Laws Coalition and Cancer Alliance continue to push for government to urgently address the patent issue and provide affordable generic medicines for cancer.

In 2018 Cancer Alliance announced that it was turning its attention to eight medicines which will be the focus of a concerted two-year campaign to change the path of cancer treatment in the country. The eight medicines have been chosen from a case study of 24 life-saving cancer medicines published in October 2017 by Cancer Alliance and Fix The Patent Laws. The research and the advocacy campaign are funded by a grant from the Open Society Foundation.

The call for affordable access was made in February 2019 for lenalidomide and/or thalidomide, used for the treatment of Multiple Myeloma. The advocacy campaign, including patient stories and clinical perspectives, will be highlighted on the Cancer Alliance website.

CANSA’S advocacy department receives numerous concerns from the public regarding challenges faced in accessing life-saving cancer drugs because of high costs and availability.

Promoting Skin Cancer Awareness

CANSA partners with the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Dermatology to raise awareness and promote SunSmart behaviour. UKZN assisted with spot check clinics at CANSA Durban’s Gijima For CANSA event held on 3 February 2019 where over 20 people were screened.

Non-Communicable Diseases

CANSA is a co-founder of the South African Non-communicable disease Alliance (NCD Alliance) along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Diabetes SA and the Patient Health Alliance of NonGovernmental Organisations (PHANGO) and its 27 primarily patient–based groups.

In September 2018, thousands of people across the world, participated in activities to mark the first Global Week for Action on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD’s), ahead of the third United Nations High-Level Meeting that was held in New York on 27 September 2018. CANSA was represented by CEO, Elize Joubert and the SA NCD Alliance CEO, Dr Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson who joined hundreds of partners
from across the globe to call on governments to take assertive action to deliver progress on NCD prevention and control.

Universal Health Coverage (UHC)

CANSA advocates for universal access to quality care through promoting collaboration with other organisations. The importance of commemorating UHC day was encouraged on 12 December 2018, joining the global community in calling for access to needed services of good quality health care without the risk of financial ruin linked to paying for care. CANSA hosted events with the theme ‘Strengthening advocacy efforts for equitable access to treatment and care for ALL’ at CANSA’s Head Office and an event was also hosted at the CANSA Durban Care Centre, in KwaZulu-Natal A highlight included the presentation from the Rural Health Advocacy Group that shared lessons learnt in health advocacy and the need to strengthen advocacy education at undergraduate studies.

The outcome of the workshop included networking and strengthening collaborations and alliances at grassroots level, including the Departments of Health at all levels.

Presidential Health Compact

The Advocacy team represented CANSA as part of the Presidential Health Summit Advocacy Working Group. Input was given regarding the Health Service Provision and the Health Users commissions which include civil society organisations, to ensure that the needs of cancer patients are addressed, together with strengthening education on reducing the risk of cancer and ensuring access to
screening services for all. The process involves developing action plans that are recommended to be undertaken by the national and provincial Department of Health in the process of trying to address the crisis of the health care system as per the Presidential Health Summit recommendations.

The Cancer Alliance

The National Cancer Campaign announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa was launched in October 208 in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal by the former Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and the former MEC for Health in KwaZulu-Natal, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo. The aim is part of the government’s plan to accelerate access to health services, particularly cancer treatment. Over 3 000 people attended and screening was provided for breast, cervical and prostate cancers. A CANSA volunteer and breast cancer survivor, Thokozani Mnikathi from Howick, spoke about the importance of supporting people affected by cancer.

CANSA supports the Department of Health’s focus on reducing the cancer burden in South Africa through early detection initiatives. A pre-launch of the campaign was held at Grey’s Hospital earlier in 2018 and educated on the importance of lowering the cancer risk through early detection and leading a balanced lifestyle.

CANSA supports the Cancer Alliance Advocacy toolkit, based on the Photovoice research outcomes of Dr Lynn Edwards and Linda Greeff. This research captures the felt needs and experiences of a representative sample of cancer patients and caregivers in South Africa. Our partner, the Cancer Alliance has distilled this into nine Priority Areas of concern, which also align with the UICC World
Cancer Declaration. For each Priority Area the toolkit provides fact sheets, policy briefs and notes on how to meet the challenges, aimed at policy and decision makers. We distribute and share information utilising all our platforms and highlight CANSA’s specific advocacy role.

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