IBD Africa has a mandate to improve the care of IBD patients through research, education and advocacy. Our advocacy project has lagged behind our other endeavours and has consisted of ad hoc interventions aimed at challenging medical aids who deny patients access to IBD treatment. We have represented patients at Council of Medical Schemes hearings and have provided advice and support to others.
In September 2022 IBD Africa hosted its first Patient Advocacy Summit in Cape Town sponsored by Abbvie. Fifteen patients attended this 2 day meeting held at the Vineyard Hotel. Patients with autoimmune rheumatological and dermatological conditions were also invited. Facilitated by Lauren Pretorius, CEO of Campaigning for Cancer, this meeting deconstructed patient advocacy into easy to understand concepts. Four key advocacy issues (advocacy issue = problem + solution) were identified for action and a seed has been planted for this to grow into a much larger component of our organisation.