Health literacy is a vital aspect to patient care. There is an increased global understanding of how health literacy affects health outcomes and what policy interventions are needed to reduce inequities resulting from low levels of health literacy. Despite recognition that health literacy is a global issue that contributes to growing health care inequities and widespread health disparities between countries, populations, and individuals, inequities persist. To improve equity, there is a need to address health literacy in parallel with policy development and implementation.
The report Health Literacy in Asia-Pacific National Health Literacy Policies & Strategies in the Region, outlines the health literacy landscape in Asia-Pacific by examining the state of current health literacy policies for ten countries and conducting a comparative health literacy policy analysis in four key areas:
- Policy development.
- Areas of policy priority and focus.
- Funding to support policy development and implementation.
- Measurement of population health literacy.
The report Lymphoma Care in Asia-Pacific: Exploration in Disparities in Care shows that while there are some promising actions being taken regarding improving the care and quality of life of patients with lymphoma across Asia-Pacific, there are still large systemic gaps and there is still much to be done to achieve equity within the region.
We at Lymphoma Coalition firmly believe that if we, patient organisations, and other key stakeholders work together, we can jointly bring about positive change.
Change will take time. There are steps we can take now that, once successfully implemented, will act as a solid foundation for future activities in the region. Well-thought out, consistent effort over time will lead to improved healthcare systems and patient experience in APAC.
The following are identified priorities for the Lymphoma Coalition:
1. Advocacy Skill-Building
It is clearly noted in this report that changes are needed to health systems to ensure equity in care. There are numerous ways for patient organisations to advocate for some of the most pressing issues for patients in the APAC region. Establishing new ways of working that give value to the voices of marginalised individuals and communities is needed. These people have valuable lived experiences that can, and should, inform issues that health providers are seeking to address.
2. Evidence-Based Advocacy
Providing opportunities for those with lived experience to inform, influence and where possible engage in decision-making is essential. Whilst it is essential to have scientific evidence in making good health system decisions, it is equally valuable to include patient experience data. The Global Patient Survey on lymphomas and CLL is a credible source of validated data to use for these purposes.
The 2018 LC GPS indicated a clear need for information and support regarding coping with the effects of a lymphoma diagnosis. There is a strong correlation between patients being adequately informed and feeling more confident with positive outcomes. Communication, education, and publicity are critical to decreasing cancer-related stigma, raising cancer awareness, and disseminating cancer education.
There are opportunities to collaborate with other regional APAC stakeholders with similar goals and needs. Together, more can be achieved.
Lymphoma Coalition APAC Reports
The report below highlights patient care issues across APAC and determines where these issues can be addressed with common solutions and support.