Swiss Self-Help Organization Pancreatic Diseases

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Anna-Barbara Sterchi of Swiss Self-Help Organization Pancreatic Diseases presents at SSP assembly in 2017.

The SSP Schweizer Selbsthilfeorganisation Pankreaserkrankungen (Swiss Self-Help Organization Pancreatic Diseases) was founded in 1998 by Conrad Rytz to provide medical information concerning pancreatic diseases and the available therapies. At this time, the SSP published a brochure in collaboration with the University Hospital of Berne (InselSpital) for patients and organized information events at various hospitals. A decade later, unfortunately, the group of active members had diminished considerably and the SSP became silent.

In 2012, Daniela Meier contacted Conrad Rytz with the idea to re-launch the organization, and he was able to bring on Anna-Barbara Sterchi (head of nutrition counselling of InselSpital and member of the SSP-advisory board) and René Huber for the project. This project group initiated an online survey in order to collect the information needs of people affected by a pancreatic disease, as well as create a new website and the SSP-logo. In the past three years, the project group gained new members, who then elected the new executive board.

This new board shifted the focus to empowering patients to get access to suitable resources that would improve their health-related quality of life. The main platform for self-empowerment is the website www.pancreas-help.ch. Another resource is provided by the local self-help groups. Here, people affected support each other by sharing their knowledge and experience, thus strengthening their autonomy as well as their competence. On World Pancreatic Cancer Day on Nov. 16, 2017, the SSP will also organize a cooking event in Switzerland’s capital, Berne.

“As a volunteer organization,” said Meier, who serves as SSP president, “the SSP relies on funding and would be grateful to the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition for help in opening doors to international companies based in Switzerland offering sponsorship. In addition, WPCC templates for posters that would allow Swiss figures and languages to be fitted in would be appreciated.”