Middle Eastern and African NMOs gather in Dubai for advocacy training

From August 29 to August 31, national member organizations (NMOs) from across the Middle East and Africa gathered in Dubai, UAE, for an Advocacy in Action workshop that focused on building awareness and government support for the bleeding disorders communities in their respective countries.

Sixteen NMOs participated in the three-day event that covered topics ranging from building relationships with key stakeholders and using media for advocacy to sharing lessons learnt from advocacy experiences of each country. This was critical training for these organizations given the multiple challenges they face, including influencing and getting support from government and other key institutions, as well as developing strong ties with medical leaders and learning how to use these relationships to advance advocacy strategies.

During the meeting, there was a mix of lectures, group exercises and role-playing activities to give participants the tools to better advocate for proper care in their countries. Arafat Awajan, vice-president of the Jordan Thalassemia and Hemophilia Society, was in attendance to speak of his NMO’s experience of developing and maintaining government support. Magdy El-Ekiaby, MD, board member of the Egyptian Society of Hemophilia, offered advice on how to achieve better collaboration between medical and lay communities to advocate for better care.

The goal of the Advocacy in Action workshops is to provide NMOs with targeted strategies and tools for dealing with challenges in obtaining and securing government support and to improve the diagnosis and treatment of bleeding disorders. Strained budgets, lack of interest or will, and difficulty in dealing with bureaucracies are all common issues that many of the NMOs know all too well. The goal of the workshops was to provide a place where the NMOs can acquire knowledge and share their success stories and challenges with other organizations in order to achieve a stronger voice for the bleeding disorders community that is needed in many countries around the world.

The Advocacy in Action Program is supported by exclusive funding from Baxter.