Elevating Skin Health: A global roadmap

10 January 2022


Diseases affecting the skin "represent one of the most significant opportunities to improve health around the world—and one of the most widely overlooked." IFPA has joined a diverse group of dermatology experts to co-author an open letter detailing the devastating consequences of skin diseases, and demanding action to elevate their priority on the global health policy agenda.

"We often underestimate the burden of diseases with visible skin symptoms," commented Frida Dunger Johnsson, IFPA's Executive Director. Indeed, skin diseases are the third most prevalent cause of illness worldwide, and one of the top ten causes of disability. Disfiguring, chronic, and/or life-threatening, diseases affecting the skin drain billions of dollars each year and affect people of all ages and demographics, worldwide. "By writing this letter, we insist on action to improve millions of lives worldwide," Frida continued.

In writing this open letter, dermatology experts are calling for change. Health policy must reflect the scale and severity of the impacts that come from diseases affecting the skin. This call-to-action builds upon important milestones such as the World Health Organization's Resolution on Psoriasis and its efforts against neglected tropical diseases with skin manifestations. Compounded with new diagnostic and treatment tools, more can be done to meet the challenge.

The open letter outlines four clear goals:

  1. Policymakers and other stakeholders must assess health systems' capacity to effectively and efficiently address skin diseases.
  2. Health systems must step-up dermatology training for primary care providers.
  3. Stronger cross-specialty connections bring the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach to skin diseases.
  4. Leaders must elevate diseases affecting the skin on global and national health policy agendas, including at the WHO.

You are invited to join policy leaders, health organizations, healthcare providers, and patient advocates to achieve these goals. Visit elevatingskinhealth.org to learn more.