WFH’s GAP Program brings Treatment for All closer in Mexico and Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan and Mexico have seen significant improvements in hemophilia care and treatment in recent years, thanks to intensive efforts as part of the World Federation of Hemophilia’s (WFH) Global Alliance for Progress (GAP) program. After four and seven years respectively, the programs have come to a successful end in these two countries.

The GAP program is a ten-year healthcare development project, launched in April 2003, designed to increase the diagnosis and treatment of people with bleeding disorders globally. After eight years of activity, more than 13,000 patients with bleeding disorders globally have been identified by the program and more than 17,000 healthcare professionals, patients, and families have received education and training. The program has been successful in increasing resources and access to patient care, as well as ensuring that governments take responsibility for managing this care.

Azerbaijan: Progress in Care, Training, and Diagnosis

The Republic of Azerbaijan successfully completed its GAP project in December 2009. Thanks to four years of hard work by the Azerbaijan Republic Association of Hemophilia, people with bleeding disorders around the country now enjoy improved treatment and a greater supply of factor concentrates. The results include an increase in the number of identified patients, including 1,268 people with hemophilia and 220 with von Willebrand disease; the development of national treatment guidelines; a computerized national patient registry; and substantial improvement in medical and lay cooperation. The GAP program also helped establish a hemophilia treatment centre offering full comprehensive care at the Republican Hospital in the capital, Baku, as well as seven regional referral centres which now offer basic care. In addition, the program contributed to a strengthened and united patient organization.

“One of the most impressive successes of the GAP program in Azerbaijan is the significant increase in government supply of factor concentrates,” said Catherine Hudon, WFH program manager for eastern Europe. Prior to becoming a GAP country in 2005, the Ministry of Health had never purchased treatment products. However, once they did, supply of factor concentrates reached 16 million international units (IU), boosting usage from 0 IU to 1.8 IU between 2005 and 2010.

Mexico: Treatment Advances and Improved Care

Mexico was one of the first GAP countries and it will meet its initial goals when it closes in December 2010, despite many challenges along the way. The Mexico GAP program has boosted cooperation amongst the country’s medical community and inspired many important improvements. Since joining the program in 2003, new treatment guidelines have been created. In addition, more doctors are interested in hemophilia care and their knowledge of the disease is much deeper, and people with bleeding disorders are treated properly.

“The GAP program was successful for Mexico; it helped establish a national patient registry, increased training of health professionals, strengthened the state associations, and united and solidified the Hemophilia Federation,” said Carlos Gaitan, president of the Hemophilia Federation of the Republic of Mexico. According to Carlos, GAP “has made us see that securing treatment for all should be done step by step for long-term success”.

The creation of a national patient registry, combined with outreach projects, has increased the number of registered patients in Mexico to over 4,600, of which 2,500 followed the introduction of the GAP program. GAP has also raised awareness about the importance of factor concentrates; since the implementation of the program, factor purchases have doubled for factor VIII and increased by 3 million IU for factor IX for the social security system. The secretariat of health is purchasing factor concentrates in six states.

Hemophilia World, December 2010