ESPERANTRA is a non-profit organization created for the purpose of contributing to the reduction of cancer mortality in Peru, improving the quality of life of cancer patients, and advocating for equality in access to quality treatments and to innovative care.
Until 2005, there was no organization in Peru to catalyse and represent the needs of cancer patients. ESPERANTRA is the first organization of its kind to provide information and support, and to advocate on behalf of cancer patients through its different programs.
Inform, educate and empower people to achieve a timely diagnosis through prevention programs and to access treatments to control the disease. We want to change the stigma of cancer, because when detected early and treated properly, cancer can be a manageable illness and can be cured in many cases.
Be the first organization in Peru for helping and providing information to the cancer patient in order to achieve better quality of life for those living with the disease.
Provide information for early detection, responsible prevention, and access to appropriate treatments for all Peruvians with cancer.
Build and sustain a national cancer patient’s network to produce and disseminate quality of life, self-help programs tailored to patients and survivors.
Empower those affected to better understand the disease by providing strong links to cancer physicians, psychologists, and nutritionists, as well as to a wide variety of trusted information resources.
Protect and promote the rights of cancer patients by strengthening their active role both in the fight against the disease and in advocating for the adoption of national strategies to better address cancer nationwide.
Funds and Financing
Our programs are financed with diverse funds from both domestic and international sources, including from the Belgian Cooperation Agency, the American Cancer Society, from business-driven corporate social responsibility programs, and from individual and business voluntary donations.
Information and Education
ESPERANTRA is a leader in the dissemination of information and educational resources about cancer in Peru. The Cancer Explore information center serves patients, their families and the general public in finding the latest information about different types of cancer, timely detection and diagnosis, treatment options, prevention advice, and tips for healthy living. Cancer Explore features books, magazines, pamphlets, brochures, and access to a wide array of online resources. Trained staff members at ESPERANTRA are available to help link patients and their caregivers to trusted professional information resources.
Working with a grant from the American Cancer Society, ESPERANTRA hosts a Patient University each month to bring together cancer patients and advocates for small-group workshops on various themes. The workshops are designed as capacity building sessions where the latest information on cancer is shared and discussed. Cancer scientists, physicians, and nurses, as well as representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, all participate actively to build stronger in-country stakeholder networks and to develop consensus on how Peru can move an effective agenda forward for fighting cancer. The Patient University is a continuous catalyst and platform for mobilization and participation.
The ESPERANTRA web page (www.esperantra.org) includes information about the organization’s activities and events, as well as trustworthy information about cancer tailored for patients and their caregivers. We also provide links for patients to other trusted sources of information, including links to additional patient-based associations in Peru. We are currently updating the site to include information on complementary cancer therapies where patients and the general public can access content such as informative and educational video lectures.
Psychological Support and Patient Counseling
This quality of life program was created in 2005 to provide psychological support and legal advice for those who do not have timely access to cancer treatment because of delays in medical appointments and/or an inability to access appropriate medicines. ESPERANTRA offers this support to patients of all ages and to their families and caregivers. Available via in-person meetings or by telephone, trained ESPERANTRA staff are able to secure medical appointments and/or referrals for patients to qualified cancer professionals. ESPERANTRA works closely with the ESSalud Advocacy Insured Office to find solutions for cancer patients who are not receiving adequate care or attention from the medical system.
Children and Teenagers with Cancer
ESPERANTRA has hosted twice-annual workshops and related activities since April 2006 with the aim of helping children with cancer maintain some semblance of normality through creative and playful activities, making their lives and the responsibilities of their caregivers easier and more enjoyable during protracted hospital stays. The program keeps children’s cognitive and creative capacities constantly stimulated and allows for easier re-integration into school life once their health improves. The program also gives children the spiritual and psychological strength to fight and defeat cancer with positive energy and empowering activities focused on health recovery and life. These workshops are made possible by the generosity of FABER CASTELL, who sponsors painting competitions for children admitted to the hematology-oncology department of the Rebagliati Hospital.
ESPERANTRA also operates throughout the year a support program for teenagers with cancer and teen-aged cancer survivors, including recreational and cultural field trips to the cinema, to the theatre, and to concerts, allowing vulnerable teenagers to enjoy a normal and dignified life as valued community members. This program is made possible by the generosity of a variety of sponsors, including Teatro Plaza ISIL, UVK Movies, BEMBOS and PEPSICO.
Access and Prevention
ESPERANTRA coordinates two technical cooperation agreements with the FELL Foundation in Spain and the Hospitale de Bergamo in Italy where low-income, uninsured Peruvian children needing bone marrow transplants are sent for full treatment at no cost to them or to their families. Given the continued lack of infrastructure in Peru to provide bone marrow transplantation services, we are looking to expand this service by making additional arrangements with other international institutions. ESPERANTRA guarantees that all medical and visa-related formalities for needy children are completed satisfactorily and provides financial support for the purchase of airline tickets.
ESPERANTRA also organizes a series of prevention campaigns that include access to free diagnostic tests in partnership with physicians from the Lima Oncological Institute, who also volunteer to give informative lectures about cancer-related topics such as timely diagnosis and treatment options. Prevention campaigns have been organized in cooperation with a variety of City Halls and within a number of Senior Centers.
Public Policy and Advocacy
ESPERANTRA is a recognized and valued civil society organization that works to shape the code of laws securing the rights of cancer patients in Peru, including advocacy for effective government compliance and enforcement mechanisms.
Our regularly-held National Forums generate important policy documents and statements addressed to the Ministry of Health and intended to identify system deficiencies in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer patients. Our policy documents contribute constructively to improving access to adequate health services and treatments for every patient diagnosed with cancer.
We are building a portion of our web page to include an advocacy training course with resources to empower patients in how to communicate effectively with Peruvian health officials and leaders in all regions of the country.
ESPERANTRA is a leader among civil society organizations in Peru in identifying health policy-related problems and suggesting solutions from the viewpoint of citizens. We led the creation of the Coalition of Cancer Patients in Peru, which has been operational since 2007, and serves to promote access to respectful, dignified, and adequate medical treatment and to unify the Peruvian voice against cancer.
The Coalition’s aim is to place cancer more squarely on the national health public agenda, to reduce the stigma of cancer among all stakeholders, to empower patients and their caregivers, and to achieve effective change in legislative policies and relevant regulations to optimize cancer diagnosis, treatment and care. Working with the Health Ministry, ESPERANTRA has secured the Coalition’s role as an observer to the Peruvian Multisectoral Coalition Against Cancer and a trusted advisor to the legislative decision-making process.
Since March 2010, ESPERANTRA has been a steering committee member of the Peruvian Network of Patients, a coalition of patient-based associations created in 2008 to represent and advance a common policy platform urging alignment of health systems with core values of protection, promotion of rights, service quality improvement, increased access, and enhanced safety and security for all patients. This unique alliance represents the interests of patients before the Health Commission of the Peruvian Congress, MINSA, government specialized technicians in public health, ESSalud, and with hospital officials, professional associations, and the Health Ombudsman.
During 2009 and 2010, ESPERANTRA was civil society’s representative on the National Council of META PERU, a broad-based effort to analyze and improve access to essential medicines.
A Regional and International Voice
ESPERANTRA contributes to a strong regional voice in fighting cancer. Since November 2010, we have been working with a generous grant from the American Cancer Society to develop a web page and blog (www.redcancer.org) to help serve the needs of a coalition of Latin America region non-profit organizations (Alianza Latina) that are similar in scope and mission to ESPERANTRA and dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer patients and advancing cancer prevention in their own countries.
Internationally, ESPERANTRA serves on the board of the International Alliance of Patient’s Organizations (www.patientsorganizations.org) and helps coordinate capacity-building and training activities for patient-based associations worldwide. ESPERANTRA is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (www.asco.org), a member of the International Confederation of Childhood Cancer Parent Organizations (www.icccpo.org), and an associate member of the European Cancer Patient Coalition (http://www.ecpc-online.org).
For more information on ESPERANTRA’s mission and programs, please contact Maurice Mayrides at email@example.com or by phone at +51-1-999-265352