SPARC grant awardees – Meet Evgenyia from Bulgaria

Evgenyia Aleksandrova and APOZ's Patients' Academy
9 August 2016

Evgenyia Aleksandrova, 53 year-old breast cancer survivor, is the founder and head of APOZ and Friends, one of the SPARC grantee organisations that has a major influence on healthcare policies in Bulgaria.

As part of the SPARC MBC Challenge launched in partnership with Pfizer, Evgenyia Aleksandrova is shaping the ABC Patient Academy with trained nurses and oncologists to help metastatic breast cancer (MBC) patients in Bulgaria to clearly understand the importance and processes of treatment.

How has SPARC contributed to develop and grow your initiative?

SPARC has given me the opportunity to take the next step in bringing the Bulgarian healthcare system closer to the best practices known. Being part of the SPARC experience is an honor for both me and my organisation. Our project has encouraged physicians, medical staff, patients and their relatives to focus on their emotions, to overcome difficulties and to be more invested in their relationships. In reality, investment in relationships heals just as much as medicine.

Do you feel that the community’s perception of MBC has evolved since the programme started?

I strongly believe that MBC patients have a lot to gain from this programme, given my previous experience with raising patient awareness. We will, of course, receive their personal evaluation throughout the course of the programme, as well as at its end. For the moment, our team’s observations show that the programme’s value lies within the development of communication skills, problem solving, and the commitment and individualisation of care. More and more of our patients feel like they matter because of receiving personalised care without having to feel vulnerable.

What are your partners' feedbacks on the programme and the progress you are making? Can you feel the team is more inspired since you bring your ideas or goals to life?

Our partners have always been happy to work with me and the organisation I represent simply because we usually share the same ideas, values and goals. This is how we choose our partners and how they choose us. We are in constant contact with them. I personally visit the hospitals and clinics where the programme has been implemented and I talk with the trainers about their work so that we can be as efficient as possible for the patients. It must be said that our trainers are practitioners – they work with other hospital patients alongside ours. I believe that thanks to this programme we are increasing the medical nurses’ capacity for providing emotional care in a professional manner. 

What is your philosophy towards your work?

If there are a hundred reasons not to get something done and only one to do it – I choose the one!

You have presented your awarded project at several key national events in Bulgaria. What feedback did you receive? 

The feedback we received was the usual - people expect us to achieve progress. The best part is that they have no doubt we will. At the very launch of this project we quite timely shifted focus onto medical nurses, who are an invaluable resource for every healthcare system. In Bulgaria, their full potential is yet to be reached and put to rational use. It’s quite inspiring that we will attempt to change this, and, with enough patience and perseverance we will succeed.

For more information on the SPARC MBC challenge please click here

Last update: 
Friday 7 June 2019