Today, on World Psoriasis Day, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), brings attention to the need for improving the availability of treatment and care for psoriasis— a disease that affects more than 125 million people all over the world.
Psoriasis is a serious, chronic, inflammatory, non-communicable disease for which there is currently no cure. According to the official report on psoriasis issued by the WHO Secretariat in advance of the 133rd meeting of the WHO Executive Board, the disease affects around 2% of the global population, with an even higher prevalence in some countries. Yet, even though it is a quite common disease which also carries with it an extensive physical, psychosocial and socioeconomic burden, there are still a large number of countries where it is difficult, or even impossible, to receive efficient treatment.
Lars Ettarp, president of IFPA, comments: “A survey carried out by IFPA among its member organizations showed quite clearly that in many countries the treatments are in fact available, but due to very high costs or other limitations, such as lack of, or weak, social security systems, still not accessible for people with psoriasis. In some countries it can even differ from region to region and some treatment methods might not be available at all.”
Psoriasis has no borders
“Psoriasis has no borders. It is in every region and every country, affecting millions of people in their daily lives, as well as their families and communities. IFPA’s vision is a world without human suffering from psoriasis. Even if we today don’t have a cure for psoriasis, we can all work for better equality in regards to access to treatment and care, to alleviate the burden of the disease on a person’s life”, says Kathleen Gallant, IFPA executive committee secretary and chair of the IFPA Task Force on NCDs.
Treat the patient—save the person
As part of the World Psoriasis Day messaging for 2013, IFPA initiated a photo testimonial campaign where people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can share what access to treatment means for them. Josef de Guzman, IFPA executive committee treasurer and chair of the IFPA World Psoriasis Day Steering Committee, explains the reasoning behind the campaign: “This is a very visual, and impactful, way of showing what we as people with psoriasis feel is important. We aren’t our disease or 'just' patients, we are people with hopes and dreams and ambitions just like everyone else. But not receiving treatment for our health problems heavily impacts how we can live our lives, or fulfill our dreams. Hence the theme for the campaign: treat the patient—save the person. Giving people with psoriasis access to treatment gives them the chance to fulfill their potential as human beings. Health shouldn’t be a luxury; it is a basic human right.”
About IFPA and World Psoriasis Day
IFPA, together with all its national member associations, is working to improve the quality of life for people suffering from psoriasis. Towards this end we are all united in a yearly World Psoriasis Day campaign, on October 29. In 2013 we are focusing on the need for access to treatment for all people with psoriasis, no matter where they live. To read more about World Psoriasis Day and the campaign, please visit www.worldpsoriasisday.com.
In May of this year, the WHO Executive Board adopted a resolution on psoriasis/World Psoriasis Day, encouraging “Member States to engage further in advocacy efforts to raise awareness regarding the disease of psoriasis, fighting stigma suffered by those with psoriasis, in particular through activities held every year on 29 October in Member States”. The resolution, entitled “World Psoriasis Day”, will be voted upon at the next World Health Assembly, in 2014, and can be downloaded here: EB133.R2.
For more information about IFPA, World Psoriasis Day and the resolution, please contact the IFPA Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org or +46 8 556 109 18.