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Changing tactics and persevering: Hemophilia Federation of the Republic of Mexico wins Advocacy in Action Award

To the Hemophilia Federation of the Republic of Mexico (Federación de Hemofilia de la República Mexicana), advocacy meant perseverance and adaptation to changing circumstances. When faced with a new government in power, and seeing four years of hard work slip away, they kept moving forward with determination. The Mexican Federation re-examined their advocacy strategy, regrouped, and persevered.

The Advocacy Recognition Award is given annually, as part of the WFH Advocacy in Action Program, to the WFH national member organiza-tion with a successful advocacy campaign. This award highlights their advocacy strategies, the implementation through activities and media coverage, the overall process, and the end results of their campaign.

The 2012 recipient of this first Advocacy Recognition Award is the Hemophilia Federation of the Republic of Mexico. The Mexican Federation campaigned for seven years, beginning in 2003 and ending in 2010, to provide free treatment and care for uninsured children who have either hemophilia or von Willebrand disease (VWD).

“Their original strategy was to educate and pressure national health authorities about the importance of providing care to all children with hemo-philia,” said Luisa Durante, WFH regional program manager for the Americas. “The Mexican Federation, from the beginning of this campaign, was very clear in their goal of trying to achieve free treatment and care for this population of children that had no coverage and were therefore at great risk. This clarity and determination were the driving force for them; they were going to do what they could to reach this goal and to make it happen.”

After four years of consistent work, the National Commissioner of the Social Protection Scheme (Seguro Popular) finally agreed to this change in policy. However, before the decision could be implemented, a new government came into power and the decision was overturned.

The Mexican Federation, despite this setback, never gave up and instead they changed their strategy. Through a nationwide education campaign, they gained the support of some of the state health authorities. This state-level of government in turn helped apply pressure on the Seguro Popular. The end result was not only an agreement to change national health policy, but also new support at the state-level in three states, and an increase in public awareness about hemophilia.

At the end of 2010, seven years after the Mexican Federation began their advocacy campaign, theSeguro Popular finally agreed to insure children under 10 who have either hemophilia or vWD that were not insured elsewhere.

The Mexican Federation was awarded the Advocacy Recognition Award for not only their perseverance but for their continual strategic thinking. When faced with changing governments and failed policy changes, they rose to the challenge and created new opportunities.

“The Mexican Federation grew a lot during this process and became a stronger entity. This experience was extremely valuable; every step of the way there was learning and strategic thinking, this really was a national initiative that involved the whole community,” said Durante. “It is remarkable to witness this strength and determination that led them to be successful and it illustrates that change is really possible.”

Through the leadership of Martha Monteros, and then Carlos Gaitan-Fitch, the Mexican Federation was led with a vision that promoted care and treatment for all children in Mexico. This advocacy campaign was an extraordinary achievement for Mexico and for a new generation of children who now will receive adequate and preventative care.