Making psoriasis a top priority

Today's guest post comes from Sophie Andersson, Executive Director of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA).

Why psoriasis, and why now?

Achieving recognition for the condition, and making a strong case for change in the way that psoriasis is perceived and managed is a milestone for advocacy and for the psoriasis community. But we want to make sure the journey doesn’t stop there. We know that to date very little action has been taken by all Member States to address the avoidable impact of psoriasis, or implement practical solutions.

With the 2014 World Health Organization (WHO) Resolution on psoriasis, WHO’s Member States officially recognised psoriasis as chronic, painful non-communicable disease (NCD) that causes avoidable suffering due to incorrect/delayed diagnosis, inadequate treatment options and insufficient access to care, as well as social stigmatization. Then, the WHO followed-up on their Resolution with the 2016 Global Report on Psoriasis, raising awareness of the ways psoriasis can impact people’s lives and calling to action governments and policymakers, scientists, health professionals, patients’ organisations and industry professionals, to improve the healthcare and social inclusion of the millions of people living with psoriasis. Nevertheless, policy action on psoriasis at European level continues to stall.

Fighting the current status quo requires coordinated and cross sectoral action, new ways of thinking, unprecedented collaborations and more voices together to advocate change and make it happen. The Global Psoriasis Coalition was created to enable the whole psoriasis community to take these next steps forward together.

The Coalition includes a wide range of partners; from across third, private and public sector. Its makeup reflects the complexity and unpredictability of psoriasis, which is associated with comorbidities such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer and touching multiple medical specialties and care providers.

Working together is more powerful, more focused and more integrated. It allows us to share knowledge and expertise; develop a more holistic perspective and achieve the wider reach and impact that we need at national, regional and global level.

By cooperating across borders, sectors and disease areas, the Global Psoriasis Coalition works to improve the lives of the 125 million people worldwide living with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

Making psoriasis a top priority in the WHO Global Action Plan

In the current version of the WHO Global Action Plan, psoriasis is nowhere to be seen and this needs to change.

That’s why we held the side event “Psoriasis in the NCD Agenda – The Road to 2018” during the  last World Health Assembly. At the event, we revealed why psoriasis should be a top priority in the global NCD agenda – and how our Global Psoriasis Coalition works to make this a reality. 

Initiatives such as the newly released report “Encouraging policy action to address the psoriasis challenge” by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) are also strongly welcomed. The report gives a good baseline for follow-up of national activities by IFPA members in the respective countries. Similar studies in other countries and regions are urgently needed to give a global picture of the implementation of the Psoriasis Resolution and the work still to be done to improve the living conditions for people living with psoriasis. The Resolution and the Report are both a good backbone for the further implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan and any other NCD strategy at national or regional level.

In 2018 and 2020, the WHO Global NCD Action Plan (2013-2020) will be revised. The Global Psoriasis Coalition will be advocating specifically to prioritise inclusion of psoriasis in these revisions.

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