The Romanian Coalition for Women’s Health: towards better access to health care for women
4 February 2019

Since June 2016, the Romanian Think Pink Europe co-founder Fundatia Renasterea has actively been working with Romanian public authorities and civil society on a favourable framework to improve the survival rate for cancer patients in Romania. The coalition specifically focuses on women, as Romania’s rates of incidence, prevalence and mortality for feminine cancers are among the highest in the European Union. By advocating for prevention and early diagnosis, the coalition wants to raise awareness among women and younger generations, and improve access to the health care system.

The “Coalition for Women’s Health”  ?  in Romanian “Coali?ia pentru sanatatea femeii” – was launched on the initiative of Fundatia Renasterea. It is a strategic partnership among NGOs, medical professionals, patients, lawmakers as well as public authorities, to advocate for a better women’s health programme in Romania.

The importance of prevention and early diagnosis

Its objectives are to develop national screening programmes for the most common types of cancer in women, particularly breast and gynaecological cancers (cervical and ovarian cancers), to raise awareness on the importance of prevention and early diagnosis, and to lobby to give greater access to treatments for all women.

Time to act

The situation of women’s health in Romania is quite alarming when taking a closer look at the numbers. According to a Deloitte study, in 2017, a woman in Romania was diagnosed with breast cancer every hour; every 3 hours, a woman died of breast cancer; and half of the women diagnosed were under the age of 60.

While the European annual mortality rate for breast cancer in Europe is at 26 %, the same rate in Romania reaches 35 %. However, the Romanian mortality rate for ovarian cancer is lower than the European average (59 % vs 66 %). As far as cervical cancer is concerned, the mortality rate for is at 52 % compared to the European average of 42 %, while the incidence in Europe is twice higher than in Romania.

Lack of access to tests

While molecular and genetic tests are universally mentioned in international guidelines as key elements in establishing a correct and efficient cancer treatment, Romanian women have difficulties affording them, as reimbursement varies from one person to another. In Romania, one’s access to the health care system often depends on their income and area of residence. As a result, Romanian women may not receive a complete diagnosis and an effective treatment because they cannot afford health care.

The project “Coalition for Women’s Health” aims to give Romanian women equal access to preventive tests for breast and ovarian cancer, among others. As an example, full reimbursement would increase the number of early diagnosis, better the efficacy of treatments, and consequently decrease the mortality rate.

The chances of women in Europe to survive cancer should not depend on their country or region of residence. Fundatia Renasterea stands by the Coalition for Women’s Health in fulfilling its mission to close the health gap between and in countries, and to offer equal chances of survival for all.