Country, Date of election
Ida Karpinska is redesigning the medical system in Poland to expand the care currently provided to women affected by gynecological cancers. In doing so, she is changing the paradigm of women’s health and sexual education within the country. Her ultimate goal is to create a preventive infrastructure that engages medical personnel, legal support, media channels, decision makers and female patients.
Cervical cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among young European women, second only to breast cancer. With 60,000 new cases of cervical cancer every year, it has become one of the major causes of death for women in Central and Eastern Europe, where the situation is critical due to thelow level of detection. In Poland, nearly 25,000 die from cervical cancer each year. Out of every 100,000 women, 9.4 die from cervical cancer. The statistics are overwhelming when one considers the fact that cervical cancer is entirely preventable, detectable, and curable if diagnosed in its early stages.
Her multidimensional approach to cervical cancer provides an effective framework for cooperation between different institutions and organizations involved in prevention, education and support at every level of the healthcare system. Her educational input and raising of awareness has led to tangible change and revising of attitudes across a whole spectrum of people. In 2012 alone, Ida and her Foundation reached over 30,000 women in the country through her activities. On a monthly basis, Ida is directly impacting the life of 3,000 women.
Ida reorganizes the existing structures and programs that address the several different types of gynecological cancers. Through this restructuring, she is working against the misconceptions in the field of reproductive health in Poland and in the Central and Eastern European region. She has launched the Flower of Femininity, a nation-wide movement of women to educate society, promote treatment methods and create a network of prevention and support for all women with gynecological cancers.
Ida’s long term plan is to continue the educational work that she hopes will be reflected in an increased ratio of women visiting gynecologists and the number of cytology tests both at public but also private clinics. She is envisioning more women-friendly medical systems to be implemented in several locations that could serve as model to extend this approach throughout the country. To sustain these operations and enhance her vision at the regional level, Ida is putting in place a sound business strategy that includes partnerships with corporations in the form of donations and fees for educational services.
When Ida had her regular annual cytology test she discovered she had cancer. She didn’t have enough information about the disease itself, methods of treatment and chances for recovery. The disease transformed Ida. The experiences with the medical system were so daunting and painful, that she felt an urge to share her experiences as she realized that cervical cancer is a taboo topic in Poland. Learning from her personal experience as a cancer patient, Ida Karpińska established the Flower of Femininity organization in 2006, the first nationwide organization to fight cervical cancer and other types of gynecological cancers.