LHL International is concerned about patient rights. We would also like patients to be involved to the greatest possible extent in the fight against tuberculosis and for treatment to be adapted to local needs and challenges. Therefore we are cooperating with patient organisations in almost all of our development programs.
The patient organisations work with the rights of people suffering from tuberculosis and for improvement of their living conditions. Organisations for individuals with tuberculosis and HIV often work with political lobbying, distribution of information and direct support, such as income-generating activities.
If the vulnerable countries are to be able to offer high-quality, patient-friendly treatment, it is essential that those who have suffered from tuberculosis are asked for advice and are taken seriously. The public health service must collaborate closely with patient organisations.
Organisations influence development
Patient organisations are important contributors to change in their societies and for tuberculosis sufferers who are in a vulnerable situation. Our goal is to ensure that the organisations we cooperate with have credibility in society and are thus a strong voice directly into the development of the health system in the country.
The organisations are different and find themselves at various stages of the development process. They have different strengths and roles in the societies where they operate. That is why we adapt our support and guidance to each individual organisation.
This is peer support work
Peer support work is about those who have themselves experienced and survived the disease contributing to the fight against tuberculosis in their local communities. Persons who themselves have or have had tuberculosis know better than anyone else how it feels and what one has to go through to get well. They also know that one will get well, and what can make life easier during the treatment process.
These peers are good role models for those who have difficulties because of the disease and who need someone who understands, someone who has had the same experience as they do now and has managed to recover.
Organising and developing a strong and forceful organisation takes time. LHL International has a long-term perspective for the cooperation we enter into, and, among other things, we contribute with systematic and comprehensive capacity building for such patient organisations in the individual countries.
Our organisational development tool has proven to be useful in increasing the awareness of those who are employed by the organisations, and for planning further development and reinforcement of the organisation.
Good ballast from the work in Norway
LHL International itself originates from a patient organisation; the Norwegian Heart and Lung Association (LHL), which was established in 1943 by people who themselves had tuberculosis. The aim was to improve the situation for all tuberculosis patients in Norway, and this focus was gradually expanded to also include heart and lung problems. We are convinced that this background gives our work added value.