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NTM - To Live a Normal Life Pro-social Program

NTM - To Live a Normal Life was created in 2002 in order to overcome the barriers of shame surrounding the problem of incontinence by raising awareness of the existence and possibilities for treatment. This is the first initiative of this kind related to the problem of incontinence in Poland.

As part of the Program, Polish society is familiarized with the idea of functioning normally as a result of successful treatment or the use of modern absorptive products. The activities run by the Program receive the support of remarkable Polish authorities in the field of medicine whom constitute the Scientific Council of the Incontinence Problem (prof. Włodzimierz Baranowski - gynecologist; prof. Tomasz Rechberger - gynecologist; prof. dr hab. n. med. Barbara Bień - geriatrist, prof. Zbigniew Wolski - urologist. The activities are also supported by many organizations and societies representing patients and medical professionals in Polnad.

Program Mission:

The Mission of the NTM-To Live a Normal Life Pro-Social Program is to work toward improving the quality of life for people suffering from urinary incontinence (NTM).

Goals of the Program:

1. To increase the public's awareness of incontinence,
2. To improve the quality of life for those suffering from incontinence,
3. To inform incontinence patients and their families about available methods for treating and preventing incontinence,
4. To inform incontinence patients and their families about the possibilities for using absorptive products,
5. To develop cooperation with organizations bringing together patients,
6. To support strategic partners dealing with NTM issues.

To facilitate social communication, the abbreviation "NTM" has been used as part of the "NTM - To Live a Normal Life" Pro-social Program. The abbreviation corresponds to the key letters in the Polish expression "nietrzymanie moczu" meaning incontinence. "NTM" is an abbreviation that is not as funny for people who hear about the problem, as opposed to situations when the full name of the ailment is used.

The unfavorable reactions of most Poles result from the fact that the problem of incontinence is a taboo topic in Poland, even if the disorder affects 10-15 percent of the population in every society. The number of people in Poland affected by incontinence is above 3 million and the majority of Poles feel ashamed of incontinence, are insecure and begin to isolate themselves from others. Incontinence effectively disorganizes their lives and many people affected by this problem do not benefit from medical assistance. Therefore, a number of instruments to increase discrete access to information related to this issue have been created as part of the Program.

Apart from brochures and posters, the Program's activities are supported by the NTM Quarterly, which has been published since April 2002. It focuses on medical issues and problems concerning the current situation of patients. In the last issue of the NTM Quarterly, for instance, a discussion on the future system of supplying Polish market with refundable absorptive products was initiated as part of the Program. Many people suffering from incontinence turn to the NTM Quarterly with questions which are answered by doctor Mariusz Blewniewski who is medical consultants for the Program and specialists in the field of incontinence.

So far NTM Quarterly has received a great deal of recognition and has become a vital medium for information and education. Because of the character of its distribution, it also plays an important role in lobbying, understood in a broad sense, for improving care for and the treatment of people suffering from NTM.

In March 2003 the country-wide infoline 801 800 038 became another element of the Program. It is first and foremost addressed to those suffering from incontinence. In 2002 the www.ntm.pl website was established. One of the latest projects undertaken by the Program was a more than month-long all-Polish billboard campaign in the biggest urban areas in Poland. The Program also actively participates in many medical congresses, seminars and meetings organized for patients.

The "NTM - To Live a Normal Life" Pro-social Program is also committed to actions aimed at improving the financial situation of patients. In spring 2002 a questionnaire for members of societies which bring together patients and workers in social welfare homes was prepared. It was intended to investigate existing needs for absorptive products. The results of the questionnaire, prepared in the form of a report, were submitted to institutions responsible for health policy in Poland. This brought about the creation of a new list of refundable absorptive products, which was extended to include flexible pants and anatomic sanitary towels. Still, the insufficient quantity of absorptive products to be refunded remains a problem (60 items a month).

The last and very important achievement of the Program is a change of the system for the supply of absorbency products in Poland. From the start of the 2004 refunded products are available in all pharmacies and other outlets that meet basic criteria of participation in nationwide refunding system. There is a free market for all service providers whose products meet all national and European Union standards. And the choice of product type and brand belongs to the patient, not the health administration.

Program Medical Consultant:

Mariusz Blewniewski, M.D. - Department of Urology, Medical University of Lodz, Copernicus Specialist Hospital in Lodz


Tomasz Michałek
phone: +48 22 279 49 01
fax: +48 22 279 49 10
e-mail: tomasz.michalek@ntm.pl, ntm@ntm.pl


ul. Hajoty 49
01-821 Warsaw