Engels Reyes: A leader’s inclusive approach to pursuing shared goals

The desire to be a change agent came at a young age for Engels Reyes. By developing his leaderships skills, Engels, who is living with severe haemophilia A, is turning this desire into a reality together with the haemophilia communities of Nicaragua and Central America.

It was when Engels became engaged in the international haemophilia community that he realised the challenges he recognised from growing up in Nicaragua – namely limited knowledge about the condition and lack of access to care – had been successfully addressed elsewhere. This vision of a better future motivated Engels to improve the situation in his home country.  

Addressing shared challenges

As well as seeing the achievements of haemophilia communities abroad, Engels also became aware of shared challenges between countries. This is particularly the case for Nicaragua’s neighbours Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The NNHF Nicaragua 2 project therefore includes activities to collaborate with these countries and strengthen their respective patient organisations.

As a key player in devising and delivering the practical activities of the patient organisation through his role as President, Engels has also refined his leadership skills, enabling him to become a spokesperson for haemophilia at a national level. A key thread that runs through Engels’ approach to leadership is that of collaboration and dialogue, “I have learned to always be there to listen to my community to know the very particular needs of our health system, and to understand how it works so that I can make suggestions, always in a spirit of dialogue and respect for the institutions.”

Creating a solid team

This approach is being applied in the Nicaragua 2 project, which seeks to decentralise diagnosis, expand haemophilia knowledge across the country and share best practices between neighbouring countries, objectives that require the engagement and support of health authorities and other stakeholders.

Continuing the theme of collaboration, Engels also emphasises the importance of teamwork in pursuing their goals: “I have learned to recognise my limitations and the aptitudes and potential of others. This is how we have achieved a solid team with professionals from different areas, all working towards the same objective, to improve the care of haemophilia in Nicaragua.”