Education and Support for Women in Colombia

Roche is working hand-in-hand with some of Colombia’s largest healthcare organisations to develop local patient solutions to improve the patient journey.
Academia or research institute 1
Hospitals Health Facilities 1

The aim of this initiative is to develop and deliver capacity building and educational programs for appropriate diagnosis and management of cancer.

What are the health needs and challenges?

Colombia is improving the delivery of healthcare services, but increasing access to innovative treatments and improving support for serious chronic diseases such as cancer remain among the country’s greatest challenges.

Breast cancer, for example, is the cause of the highest number of female deaths from cancer, about 2,200 annually. According to the National Cancer Institute in Colombia, approximately 7,000 new cases of breast cancer are reported every year. However, as Colombian women are often not aware of the risk factors for cancer, or of the importance of early detection, they often present to the doctor in an advanced stage.

Partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

Roche has partnered with Colombian healthcare organizations to develop healthcare awareness and prevention programs, such as:

  • Women Consultations: In 2012, Roche introduced a country-wide initiative called “Women Consulting Rooms”, or “Consultorios para la mujer”, dedicated to women. Trained healthcare professionals provide awareness of diseases and diagnostic testing enabling early detection of diseases, such as breast cancer. The first room opened in the San Juan de Dios Hospital in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city.
  • Health awareness in jails: Roche is promoting breast cancer awareness and prevention in Colombian jails, which house approximately 6,500 women. The project started in 2013 in the Buen Pastor jail in Bogotá in collaboration with the National Prison and Penitentiary Institute (INPEC).
  • Patient support programs: Roche established the “Tiempo de vivir” – (Time to Live) program to provide broad support for cancer patients, their families and caregivers. The program offers education on how to manage the disease, the importance of adhering to treatment according to the instructions of the physician, as well as non-pharmacological management of adverse events. Roche also provides supporting materials with information on nutrition and healthy living habits, and conduct workshops, such as art therapy, and support groups.

Patients have access to telephone support from a team of specialized advisors and nurses. Additionally, in major cities, nurses accompany a patient to infusion rooms during treatment. A nurse may also visit a patient in their home, providing an information kit about the program. The support team then monitors the patient’s progress and invites them to workshops and conferences to learn about managing the physical and psychological impacts of cancer.

Results and milestones

Almost 5,000  healthcare professionals have attended plenary lectures on our patient journey programmes, while another 900 attended 26 workshops on clinical breast exams. A further 700 healthcare professionals have undertaken e-learning on signs, symptoms and the patient journey.

More than 65,000 patients received a clinical breast exam, nearly 188,000 underwent mammography and 2,257 patients were diagnosed with breast cancer.

131 “Consultorios para la mujer” have been established and 76 comprehensive care models with 68 Routes for Care have been developed.

Geographic Reach
  • Americas
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Disease Area
  • Non-communicable Diseases
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Women
SGDs the partnership contributes to
SDG 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
  1. 3.2: Reduce Under-5 Mortality 
  2. 3.4: NCDs (including mental health)
  3. 3.8: Achieve universal health coverage
SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 
Partner organizations
Academia or research institute

National Prison and Penitentiary Institute (INPEC)

Hospitals Health Facilities

Local hospitals & health centers & patient groups

Additional information