EATAN is passionate about enacting the principle of patient involvement, for we believe that targeted communities must be included in the conversation if there is to be a greater understanding of the factors that inhibit prevention, screening and treatment adherence.
Through EATAN’s Online Patient Forum, we provide a safe space that encourages Africans living in Europe to describe their experiences of transmission, screening, monitoring and treatment adherence surrounding HIV, viral Hepatitis and TB. The forum provides an outlet for patients to express their emotions, share advice and gain emotional support, enabling them to develop strategies to achieve healthy and productive lives. We also utilise the knowledge and insights shared through the Online Patient Forum to inform our development of strategies that can enhance the emotional and physical well-being of patients.
Furthermore, we include expert African patients living in Europe in our Treatment Advocacy training programme, as we believe that they can offer an invaluable insight into some of the barriers to accessing monitoring, adhering to medication; and to describe the tools they have employed to accept their diagnosis and increase treatment adherence.
1 . PATIENT PARTICIPATION GROUPS FOR AFRICANS LIVING IN EUROPE
EATAN campaigns for clinics in Europe that treat patients from the African community living with HIV, viral Hepatitis or TB to administrate regular patient participation groups consisting of patients, a specialist doctor and nurse, as well as clinic manager.Patient Participation Groups allow service users an opportunity to report on their experiences of the services provided by the clinic, to describe their responses to treatments, to express their particular needs, and to access information-based workshops.
2 . INCREASED INVESTMENT IN PEER SUPPORT SERVICES
EATAN believes in invaluable benefits of peer support whereby people who have a personal understanding of living with HIV, viral Hepatitis or TB can share experiences and advice on a group or one-to-one level.We petition governments in Europe to invest in peer support services for Africans living in Europe that can assist people to develop the tools to engage in prevention practices, encourage to screen for infectious diseases, deal with the emotional and practical dimensions of their diagnosis, and adhere to treatment.
3 . INCLUDING PATIENTS TO INFORM POLICY
EATAN urges European governments to include patient voices in the policy-making process.The insights of Africans living in Europe must be heard when constructing HIV, viral Hepatitis and TB awareness campaigns, strengthening anti-discrimination legislation and providing culturally sensitive health and social care services.