A delegation from Paraguay led by newly appointed Minister of Health, Dr. Julio Daniel Mazzoleni Insfran, visited Direct Relief’s new distribution center and offices on Monday and Tuesday for an in-depth briefing on Direct Relief’s operations, accreditations, and medical supply chain management and to discuss ongoing and planned activities in Paraguay.
Dr. Mazzoleni toured the organization’s 155,000-square-foot warehouse, accompanied by Walter Insfran, General Director of the Ministry’s Cabinet, Dr. Nery Rodriguez and Gustavo Dominguez, who work to coordinate the country’s strategic medical supply, Dr. Juan Carlos Alvarenga, one of Paraguay’s leading oncology surgeons and Regional Medical Advisor to Direct Relief, and economist Luis Fleytas.
Direct Relief’s ongoing assistance to Paraguay, which has totaled $160 million since 2013, addresses gaps in access for both basic essential medications and supplies, as well as specialized medications for cancer and therapies for rare diseases.
Asuncion, Paraguay’s capital, is one of five “Key Learning Cities” worldwide selected by the Union of International Cancer Control (UICC) as part of its C/Can 2025’s Cancer City Challenge, which is part of a broad effort aiming to decrease preventable deaths from cancer by 25 percent globally by 2015. Direct Relief is an implementing partner of the multi-faceted effort that includes the objective of increasing the number of people with access to quality cancer treatment in cities around the world through a network of motivated partners, including city leaders, governments, NGOs, UN agencies, and domestic and international businesses.
Direct Relief’s Research and Analysis team briefed Dr. Mazzoleni on the mapping platform it developed for the City Cancer Challenge to consolidate and publish in easy-to-understand, accessible online maps the cancer-related data related to incidence, treatment, outcomes, investments, and results in Asuncion and other Key Learning Cities.
To leverage its newly expanded, state-of-the-art medical distribution facility, which includes vastly expanded pharmaceutical-cold-storage capacity needed for vaccines and many oncology and rare-disease treatments, Direct Relief is working with leading healthcare companies to increase the availability of charitable oncology treatments to Paraguay and other areas of high need to advance this important global initiative.
On Tuesday, Dr. Mazzoleni and the delegation met with Amgen Foundation President Eduardo Cetlin at Direct Relief’s headquarters to discuss continued partnership. Direct Relief and Amgen have partnered to increase access to cancer treatments and supportive care medicines in 18 countries, including Paraguay.