The experience of NGOs in Mexican cancer control

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Published: 12 Dec 2016
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Berthar Aguilar - Fundación Cimab, Mexico City, Mexico

Bertha Aguilar speaks with ecancertv at the 2016 World Cancer Congress about her experiences in advocating for womens health rights in Mexico.

She describes the founding of ULACCAM, and how patient input is represented through a new web portal.

For more on her SPARC award, click here.

Could you tell us about Cimab?

Yes, we created this organisation since we were diagnosed at an early stage with breast cancer and have been advocating for women’s rights for the past fourteen years.

What challenges have you faced?

It is very hard for some women to navigate the system and it also there’s a lot of stigma still about the illness. So we need to bring it out in order to do early detection.

What other organisations do you work with?

After having a very powerful training from the American Cancer Society we went to the university they have, the US American Cancer University. So after being trained we decided to create ULACCAM which is the Union Latinoamericana Contra el Cáncer de la Mujer. We have nine countries in there, I was President of ULACCAM for several years, and we work together networking and seeing all the differences in our countries but we speak Spanish so it’s very important for us to pull together the same difficulties we can see.

Could you tell us about the “SPARC” grant?

We’re very grateful for the SPARC grant. With this grant we were able to develop a webpage which was basically designed by the same patients. It’s the first webpage you can see designed by them, what are their needs, what would they like to speak of. So we had four doctors, the specialists, that helped us with the content but all of the other needs were by the patients. You can register now and you can have some webinars and also we have psycho-oncology in some schedules on different days so if you need some help you will get it, you just register. So these chatrooms are also working in our country, there was nothing like that, it’s a very big country. So metastatic breast cancer women sometimes can’t go out because they don’t feel OK. We want to spread it all over Latin America and any other Portuguese speaking country.