The European Breast Cancer Coalition, Europa Donna Georgia, held a press conference within the framework of an informational campaign “Target for Life,” the aim of which is to support patients with metastatic breast cancer.
Through Europa Donna Georgia, thanks to the support of the Ministry of Health, treatment of HER2 positive breast cancer is to become available in the Georgian regions. On the decision of the Ministry of Health, from January 1, 2019, the provision of breast cancer medicines is to expand. Through the joint collaboration of the government and private sector, treatment of patients with all stages of breast cancer will be available. Through an agreement between Ministry of Health and a pharmaceutical company, patients with 4th stage breast cancer will get medicines such as Perjeta-Herceptine at an 80% discount.
The patients, doctors and supporters gathered at the press conference once again summerized the existing problems. Ana Mazanishvili, President of Europa Dona Georgia, Khatuna Chachava, the Head of Organizational Section of Healthcare Department, Maka Asatiani, Director of pharmaceutical company “Rosh Georgia” and other invited guests addressed the audience. Representatives of Tbilisi City Hall, Tbilisi City Council, NGOs and business companies, specialists, doctors, campaign supporters and patients were also invited to the press conference. According to the current statistics, breast cancer is the most common illness in Georgia. The patients and supporters with problems related to this illness joined the campaign “Do not differ,” launched on October 15.
The campaign was aimed at increasing the availability of treatment for women who live in the regions and have 4th stage breast cancer. Within the framework of the campaign, the stories of a few patients with breast cancer were published in social media. Their open letters were sent to the representatives of governmental institutions to tell them about patient requirements. On November 12, Minister of Health of Georgia David Sergeenko, stated that from January 1, the provision of breast cancer medicines is expanding and treatment of patients with all stages of breast cancer is going to become available. “Financing the corresponding medicines for the treatment of breast cancer was one of the main problems in the regions. Through collaboration between healthcare institutions and Ministry of Health, we achieved our goal. The Ministry of Health is starting to finance the treatment of patients with breast cancer. Timely treatment is important for such patients. Through the agreement, the duration of patients’ lives will increase and their living conditions will improve. Breast cancer is not a judgment! We have proven it many times already through the support and empathy towards each other.
We should not lose hope or motivation to fight. We lose the battle against illness when someone reduces our rights to live, when we are divided according to certain characteristics: #donotdiffer, it should not happen again,” notes Ana Mazanishvili, President of Europa Donna Georgia. The breast cancer program started in February 2016 with the aim to expand the affordability of corresponding medications. In 2015, the campaign “Target for Life” was launched. The campaign was aimed at increasing awareness about breast cancer and providing support for ensuring access to targeted therapy. At the beginning of 2016, Tbilisi City Hall and City Council launched a co-financing program for patients with early stage breast cancer (I, II, III), which also covered patients with metastatic breast cancer. At the first stage, the above-mentioned program included only the residents of Tbilisi; in 2018, Adjara region started targeted treatment of patients with metastatic breast cancer with corresponding medicines.
Throughout the whole of Georgia, the implementation of the program was still at the discussion phase. “Europa Donna Georgia” joined the European Coalition “EUROPA DONNA” founded in 1994 in Milan, the main goal of which is to fight breast cancer. The organization has been trying to save sick women since the day of its establishment. Members of “Europe Donna Georgia” are certified lawyers of the European Coalition “EUROPA DONNA”, as well as women who have been healed from this illness. One of their main goals is to assist patients with breast cancer and spread the relevant education among Georgian women to timely prevent the disease. The aim of the organization is to prevent the disease, protect the interests of women with breast cancer, increase access to healthcare based on high quality guidelines to reduce the incidence of breast cancer deaths and increase recovery rates.