Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) is one of the largest non-governmental umbrella organizations in Lithuania, joining together 30 patient organizations and more than 17 000 oncology patients.
In its activities, POLA’s practice is to represent and protect the interests of oncological patients in public authorities and in various areas of public policy-making. Furthermore, POLA offers a wide range of services such as psychological or legal assistance, an assessment of possible treatment alternatives, as well as nearly 100 discounts and free services of the partners of POLA.
The initiative to establish Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition came in 2009 but the organization’s practice came into force in 2012. POLA’s objective is to ensure oncological patients receive more effective treatment, psychological, emotional, and social support, as well as all the information they need. Throughout these years, POLA has become one of the most recognizable non-governmental organizations in the country, representing the interests of oncology patients, both at the political and public levels.
AURELIJA LILI VAŠKEVIČIENĖ
Our annual reports are available in Lithuanian via here.
POLA recommendations, studies and position papers (in Lithuanian):
- The compendium of legal advice provided by the POLA (answers to the most frequent questions by patients on general patient rights, temporary incapacity for work, rehabilitation, disability and partial working capacity, special needs, benefits and allowances, additional possibilities for treatment and drug reimbursement)
- Corruption and quality of treatment services: study and practical recommendations for patients and their relatives
- POLA analysis: difficulties and peculiarities of the determination of disability for oncological patients
- POLA study: Risk factors for oncological diseases – what is important to know for oncology patients and their relatives
- POLA study: The prevention of corruption by Medical Institutions under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania
POLA event and training materials (in Lithuanian)
International Conference “Ways to Improve the Efficiency of the Health System”
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part III)
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part II)
How to improve cooperation between doctor and patient? (Part I)
When are we going to stop giving bribes to the health system?
Rational use of medicines
Challenges in ‘end-of-life’ issues in health care
Problems and solutions of oncology patients
Communication in achieving organization’s objectives
Communication in representation of the interests of patients
How to improve communication between the doctor and the patient
Video of professor Robert J. Thomas’s 2017-04-05 lecture to patients with translation to Lithuanian
Currently, POLA brings together 30 organizations that play an active role in the area of cancer support.
Once facing the diagnosis of cancer, a person very frequently tends to close himself, not to share his experiences and fears with others. However, this does not help to recover, but only complicates the psychological condition of the sufferer, leading to depression and more frustration. At this point, psychological support and assistance from anyone aside are crucial. According to specialists, family relationships, communication with people with a similar diagnosis in psychological self-help groups are very important for patients with oncological diseases.
POLA invites people of similar destiny to form communities – patient societies in order to overcome oncological disease together.
In this section, you will find contacts of non-governmental organizations already operating in Lithuania, but if you cannot find any around your location, we will advise and help you to bring together such a community in your region.
- Lithuanian Association of Patients with Prostate Cancer
- Šiauliai City Women’s Breast Pathology Association “SALVIA”
- Lithuanian Society of Brain Tumor Patients and Their Caregivers
- Birštonas Oncology Club “Viltis gyventi”
- Elektrėnai Health Society “Mes Esame”
- “Viva Femina” Society of Women with Oncological Diseases in Šilutė District
- “EIVENA”Society of Women with Oncological Diseases
- Society of Colorectal Cancer Patients
- Plunge Association of Oncological Diseases “Mano lemtis”
- Charity and Support Fund “Mamų unija”
- Public institution “Virtus LT”
- Public institution “Inkocentras”
- Public institution “Bene esse”
- Public institution “Šiauliai Palliative Care and Care Centre”
- Public institution “Vita Digna”
- Public institution “Patient Psychological Support Centre”
- Association “Aušvis”
- Charity and Support Fund “Pagalbos namuose tarnyba”
- Association “Onkologinė savipagalba Lazdijuose”
- Vilkaviškis Cancer Patients Association “Viltis”
- Marijampolė Cancer Patients Association “Rūpestėlis”
- Jurbark Cancer Patients Association “JOLA”
- Utena Cancer Patients Association “Vilties kelias”
- Jonavos Cancer Patients Association
- Association “Onkologinės ligos draugas”
- Ukmergė Cancer Patients Association “Uola”
- Rokiškis Cancer Patients Association “Vilties žybsnis”
- Mažeikiai Cancer Patients Association “Sveik Veik”
- Raseiniai Cancer Patients Association “Versmė”
- Panevėžys Cancer Patients Association “Myliu gyvenimą” firstname.lastname@example.org
Any non-governmental or public organization providing assistance to people with oncological diseases and their families can become a member of POLA.
WHY IT IS WORTH IT
As a POLA member, you will have the possibility to:
- Participate in solving relevant questions and problems in the field of oncology
- Influence legislative process in the field of oncology. For example, the members of POLA participate actively in meetings of the Ministry of Health and the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania.
- Cooperate and consult with members of the Association in resolving any issues prominent to the organization.
- Build connections with other organizations in the field of oncology in Lithuania and abroad. For example, The Macmillan Cancer support, a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom, Cancer Choices in Northern Ireland, and the charity fund “The Tiltas Trust”.
- Participate in events and projects organized by POLA.
- Use POLA card, which gives you the opportunity to take the advantage of discounts provided by POLA partners and participate in POLA loyalty programs.
- Be more visible and known both locally and internationally.
- Not only to contribute to the common aim to improve the quality of life of oncological patients and their relatives but also to successfully achieve self-fulfillment.
- Besides directly contributing to the common goal of improving the quality of life of oncology patients and their relatives, successfully realize Yourself.
- Communicate not only on the professional level but also get to know each other and enjoy your leisure time during various events (conferences, seminars, training, etc.).
While aiming its goals, Lithuanian Cancer Patient Coalition (POLA) is engaged in multiple projects.
Being a relatively young organization, POLA has initiated and successfully implemented the project aimed at translating and producing information materials. The project was made possible with the support of the British Embassy and Vilnius Old Town Rotary Club. For the translation of the “A Parent’s Guide to Children’s Cancer’”and “Understanding Cancer Of Unknown Primary” publications from English to Lithuanian, a cooperation agreement was signed with a British organisation Macmillan Cancer Support.
In June 2014, in the Parliament of Northern Ireland POLA and Cancer Choices, an NGO from Northern Ireland, presented results of their successful cooperation: 8 bilingual leaflets on cancer prevention, which were prepared on the basis of Cancer Research UK’s publications. Later on, the information materials were distributed among POLA members and cancer information centres in Lithuania, where they are freely available to all cancer patients and their families.
Currently, the Coalition also runs the POLA card project. The POLA card project’s goal is to develop a single card for loyalty and discount programmes by POLA and its partners. The latter includes service and
goods suppliers which signed cooperation agreements on services for POLA cardholders. As cardholders, cancer patients will enjoy our partners’ discounts and privileges and participate in their loyalty programmes.
The financial assistance and support for the project was provided by the Tiltas Trust, as well as such companies as Novartis, Roche, Janssen and AbbVie.
Another project, aimed at training of members of cancer patient societies, will be launched in the near future. The aim of the project is to develop competences of cancer patient organizations required to defend cancer patients’ rights through the development of an NGO network.
In terms of future initiatives, POLA will put efforts to develop existing cancer information and support centres and contribute to the establishment of new support centres across Lithuania. The centres are to provide comprehensive information and support to patients, their families and a variety of regional patient support organisations.
Everyone willing to take part in POLA projects is welcome to contact POLA Director Neringa Čiakienė.
Major projects that are currently under way:
EU-funded project “Increasing intolerance to corruption in health care”
EU-funded project “Making it easier to recover together”
EU-funded project “Together against Cancer”
EU-funded project “Making it easier together”
Project “POLA – United against Cancer” funded by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor