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Categorie:
Public politics campaigns



Title of campaign:

The Association to Support Leukaemia Patients: A Court Case to...
research work done during the campaign:



The client: The Association to Support Leukaemia Patients
Goals:
• To launch a ...
strategy:




Strategy:
• Informing the media and the broader public about the problem;
• Using publicity and public respo...
Children who are suffering from leukaemia joined with artists to paint porcelain
cups. Students from the Smiltene Gymnasiu...
Results of the campaign and evaluation::




• The campaign has achieved its primary goal - with minimal resources, one of...
matter of life and death.
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Public Affairs 2008 / 1st Place / The Association to Support Leukemia Patients: A Court Case to Increase Governmental Financing for Medications

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Public Affairs 2008 / 1st Place / The Association to Support Leukemia Patients: A Court Case to Increase Governmental Financing for Medications

  1. 1. Categorie: Public politics campaigns Title of campaign: The Association to Support Leukaemia Patients: A Court Case to Increase Government Financing for Medications short common description of the campaign:: There are some 4,000 leukaemia patients in Latvia today. Treatment is complicated and expensive, and government financing for the treatment remains inadequate. Not all patients receive the medications which they need. In 2007 40 patients got one of the most effective medications free of charge (state financed), in year 2008 - 39 patients, while there are approximately 250 patients who need these medications. The agency has helped the Association for several years now to pursue dialogue with government institutions on the subject of insufficient financing for medications. Unlike in past years, in 2008 the government did not plan to increase overall financing for medications. This meant that there was a need for a more radical approach so as to increase government financing more substantially. Latvia is not a country in which patients go to court against the government very often. Indeed, no one has ever gone to court over the issue of availability of medications.
  2. 2. research work done during the campaign: The client: The Association to Support Leukaemia Patients Goals: • To launch a court case for leukaemia patients against the state so as to ensure greater state financing for these patients, as well as to focus public attention to problems and shortcomings in the laws which apply to the availability of medications for leukaemia patients; • To attract financing for the court case; • To receive public support of leukaemia patients so that public pressure might force political decisions. During the research phase, the agency thoroughly investigated the way in which decisions are taken on the subject of increased financing for certain types of medical treatments. In consultation with attorneys, the agency studied methods via which the rights of patients could be supported through legal proceedings. The agency also studied the experience of other countries (Estonia, Lithuania, Great Britain and others) to see how patient interests are defended there. Finally, the agency examined those non-governmental organisations from which financing could be sought out for the court case.
  3. 3. strategy: Strategy: • Informing the media and the broader public about the problem; • Using publicity and public response to attract financing for the court case; • Launching the court case. To distribute information about the problem, the agency made use of a tradition that had been launched in the previous year - observing Leukaemia Day. The events this year were organised by the agency at two hospitals, involving patients, doctors and the media in the process. To ensure publicity and response for Leukaemia Day, the agency carried out a media relations programme - extensive information, invitations to the media to take part in various events, as well as interviews with patients. To launch the court case, the agency found financing thanks to extensive public response. Because the Association itself did not have the necessary money, partners were found to cover the legal proceedings. Attorneys agreed to handle the case for a reduced fee (partly on a pro bono basis). The project In terms of information during Leukaemia Day, performances were staged for patients at the paediatric and the adult hospital. The agency prepared an open letter to the Health Ministry, pointing out that there is insufficient financing for leukaemia treatments. Participants at the Leukaemia Day events signed the letter.
  4. 4. Children who are suffering from leukaemia joined with artists to paint porcelain cups. Students from the Smiltene Gymnasium had prepared greetings. They played with the children and helped them with the painting work. The cups were later delivered to patients and doctors at the Department of Haematology at the Linezers Hospital. Media representatives participated in the event, as well. The Association presented a gift to the clinic at the Linezers Hospital - three laptops for the transplantation unit so that patients would have links to the outer world during their lengthy process of recuperation. A concert was staged. In terms of publicity and response (the media relations programme), the media received information in advance of Leukaemia Day, with information about the relevant events, the diseases as such, and the availability of medications in Latvia. During the events, the media could interview patients and their relatives. Later there were individual media relations approaches, co-ordinating the emphasis of problems among leukaemia patients in the media. The media were also informed about the possibility that the court case would be launched soon. In accumulating financing for the court process and launching the court case, the agency investigated whether the Soros Foundation would be interested. It prepared a proposal on financing for two court processes at the Administrative District Court. Thanks to the Soros Foundation's support, the agency could work with one of the best law firms in Latvia. The first lawsuit was filed toward the end of 2007.
  5. 5. Results of the campaign and evaluation:: • The campaign has achieved its primary goal - with minimal resources, one of the members of the Association has managed to launch a court case against the state. Even though such proceedings in Latvia tend to require years, the launch of the case as such is very important in terms of facilitating greater financing for patients. • The agency attracted financing from the Soros Foundation. • The case attracted a great deal of media response, thus focusing public attention on the problem. • The court case was declared to be a precedent in Latvian court practice. • The events at the hospitals and the court case attracted a great deal of public attention. • The publicity attracted public attention - there were 5 television stories on all of Latvia's leading television stations, 3 radio stories, and 27 publications in the print and the Internet media. • The number of visitors to the Association's homepage has nearly doubled. Patients with similar problems have approached the Association. • After announcement of court case, various institutions pay attention to the limited availability of medications for leukaemia patients. Ministry of Health is forced to explain the reasons why some patients lack medication. Parliament Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee has requested Ministry of Health to work out solutions that all leukaemia patients could receive medications when it is
  6. 6. matter of life and death.

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