How did we get there and what can we do to continue the momentum in the 364 days following World Psoriasis Day?
2014 spill-over effect
Following the adoption of the WHO Resolution, the focus shifted to the national level, where Member States have the commitment to work on its implementation and patient associations have the commitment to be partners in this process.
At the same time, following the WHO Resolution, the biggest spill-over effect came in the form of the Global Report on Psoriasis. The Report addressed the need for a lack of data on prevalence of psoriasis, psoriasis comorbidities and painted the full picture of living with psoriasis – beyond the skin and into the social, family, school and work circles.
While the holistic view of psoriasis was now made public and it was now easier to approach Governments, the political will still remains a challenge. But if there is anything that I have learned about the psoriasis community, is that it has never left in the face of a challenge. Challenges are opportunities dressed as a lot of work, and with that in mind a new idea was born in 2017.
2017 and the Global Health Paradox
We are living in a time where non-communicable diseases (NCDs) represent one of the biggest challenges in global health. These largely preventable diseases are, paradoxically, also responsible for 70% of global mortality and disability. An additional layer of this paradox is that this situation does not motivate financing for NCDs prevention and control – in reality, NCDs remain to be largely underfinanced.
This reality calls for innovation and we have responded by launching the Global Psoriasis Coalition and focusing this year’s World Psoriasis Day on the many sides of psoriasis. What is the innovation, you ask?
- Discussions on NCDs globally are now focused on four main diseases – cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases. The onset and progression of these diseases is triggered by risk factors – unhealthy diet, tobacco, harmful alcohol use and physical activity.
- Psoriasis is a non-communicable disease that affects 125 million people globally. The same risk factors can affect the onset and progression of psoriasis. At the same time, people with psoriasis face increased risk of developing the ‘big four’ diseases.
- So, psoriasis is at the intersection between the four risk factors and four main diseases. If people with psoriasis receive early screening, especially for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, we would innovate the way health systems work, resulting in happier patients, less disease burden and higher return on investment.
The curveball: Decision makers and healthcare professionals are not always aware of the benefits that the right management of psoriasis would bring, nor that people with psoriasis are highly affected by other NCDs, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. What can you do about it?
End of October is not the end
To bring forward the experiences of people living with psoriasis, this year’s World Psoriasis Day focuses on the many sides of the disease and of living with it. IFPA encourages its members to carry out activities to mark the day, to reach out to the communities, and to work in partnership with stakeholders. Each year, we see heartwarming ideas, creative solutions and driven actions in solidarity and understanding.
But October 29th has 24 hours and we need more than that. What can you do in the other 364 days of the year – I thought we can suggest a to-do list:
In addition – if you are a patient association, send information about your World Psoriasis Day 2017 activity to your Ministry of Health, and invite their support for your upcoming activities. I will be more than happy to discuss your next steps!
If you are an individual / patient – reach out to your country’s patient association and check how you can help support their work. Ultimately, you can also help in spreading our messages through Twitter and Facebook – follow IFPA and the Global Psoriasis Coalition, and tag us in discussions you feel we should take a look at.
Thank you for an inspiring World Psoriasis Day today – let’s continue advocating tomorrow!
Policy and Advocacy Officer of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA)