Susan Skinner Memorial Fund Facilitates Skill Development

Celia Mendoza Choqque with WFH president Mark Skinner

In November 2009, I was delighted to learn that I had been selected as one of the recipients of the Susan Skinner Memorial Fund (SSMF) Scholarship. This award made it possible for me to participate in the second World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) Latin American National Member Organization (NMO) Advocacy Initiative, held in Lima, Peru, from November 12-15. This workshop, which took place in my home town, brought with it the opportunity to meet representatives from all over Latin America who share the common goal of improving care for people who suffer from inherited bleeding disorders.

Together with my colleagues from Peru I learned more about the challenges and successes faced by other Latin American countries. I also learned that although each country has its own particularities with regard to their health systems and the functioning of patient organizations, they have several things in common. Among these are cultural similarities and methods used to engage government officials and the media in the cause. Progress made by each organization is varied; therefore, there is a real need for regional networking to allow us to share our experiences and develop communications in order to create steady improvement for us all. This was the primary goal of the workshop.

The WFH had prepared a series of topics corresponding to the different needs of participating organizations. The most relevant were those on how to conduct an interview with state officials, how to present the needs of the hemophilia community, and methods for developing a 9-step action plan. Moreover, we had the opportunity to hear about the creation of a model for a National Hemophilia Registry that the Mexican hemophilia organization has developed over the past few years.

Finally, this three-day workshop allowed me to establish great friendships and improve the skills that will help me to support my association in particular and the bleeding disorders community at large.

By Celia Mendoza Choqque
April 2010