Macedonia and USA: Twinning helps to achieve new success

While Macedonia and Arizona may be over 10,000 kilometers away from each other, the WFH Twinning Program has shortened that distance through a common goal of capacity building for the Macedonian patient organization.

According to the WFH Annual Global Survey data from 2012, there are 315 identified patients with hemophilia in Macedonia. The Civil Hemophilia Association of the Republic of Macedonia, also known as Hemolog, was established to respond to the needs of the bleeding disorder community and in 2013 they celebrated their 15th anniversary. While Macedonia is classified as a middle-income country, there remain areas in the treatment and care of hemophilia patients that require support and development. Hemolog Macedonia recognized the need to improve their organizational structure, fundraising initiatives and communication skills. This is where the support from Arizona has been invaluable. The Arizona Hemophilia Association (AHA) started in 1967 and with 47 years of experience they are well equipped to transfer skills and knowledge to international partners.

Collaborating on fundraising was a priority for the partnership. AHA is well versed in funding strategies and hosts a fundraising conference each year. These best practices were brought to Macedonia where they could be applied within a local context. The president of Hemolog, Marija Nakeska, said the biggest impact of the partnership was receiving fundraising support. In one word, Marija said Hemolog is now much “stronger.” Having fundraising skills allows Hemolog to operate independently and build sustainable support for their community. This has also been a learning opportunity for AHA to view fundraising from a new perspective. Teri Morrison, the assistant executive director, said working within the Macedonian context has allowed AHA to find “new and creative ways to provide these resources” to our Twinning partner.

The next step in the partnership is outreach activities. With 40 per cent of the Macedonian population living in a rural area, developing strategies to bring awareness and education to these hard-to-reach populations is essential. As the partnership enters its fourth year in the Twinning Program, AHA and Hemolog will continue to work in solidarity to build a stronger hemophilia community.

The Twinning Program is supported by exclusive funding from Pfizer.