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At the 67th World Health Assembly, IFPA addressed the plenary on the subject of psoriasis. The following statement was delivered by IFPA Secretary Ms Kathleen Gallant, under the auspices of IAPO (International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations).

“Thank you Mr. Chair,

Today I am here before you as a representative of the International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (an alliance of over 200 patient groups spanning over 60 countries and 60 disease areas), as Secretary of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, and as a patient who has struggled with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis since childhood.

Psoriasis is often regarded as a terribly uncomfortable skin condition only, but is in fact a chronic, immune-mediated, disabling inflammatory NCD affecting at least two percent of the world’s population. It is often confused with communicable diseases, causing stigma and discrimination.

People with psoriasis have an elevated risk for several comorbidities, including diabetes, hypertension, psoriatic arthritis, cardiovascular and Crohn’s disease, and studies reveal that we have a shorter life expectancy. People with psoriasis are frequently discriminated against in the job market and excluded from society; depression is common and suicidal ideation is alarmingly high. Hence, the physical, psychosocial and socioeconomic burden of psoriasis is significant.

To lessen suffering and for second prevention, psoriasis must be diagnosed and managed early, psoriasis patients and health professionals must be informed about psoriasis and associated risk factors, and the public must be made aware that it is not contagious.

We thank the WHO for the 2013 report which highlights key actions to lessen the burden of psoriasis and we encourage member states to give these actions due consideration. But today we ask those present to help us raise awareness and to educate ALL that psoriasis is noncommunicable and more than a skin condition, by recognizing the Psoriasis Resolution.

Mr Chair, Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is now time to shed light on this hidden, misunderstood disease and bring hope to millions of people worldwide. Please make sure that the World Psoriasis Day Resolution is adopted by the World Health Assembly.”

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