30 September 2016

‘Psoriasis should be officially recognised by the WHO as the fifth non-communicable disease in the organisation’s Global Action Plan for NCDs’

Vienna, 30/09/16. Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its Global Report on Psoriasis, in follow-up of the Psoriasis Resolution of the 67th World Health Assembly of 2014. The resolution highlights the fact that psoriasis is not just a skin disease, but a “chronic, non-communicable, painful, disfiguring, and disabling disease for which there is no cure” and “(e)ncourage(s) Member States to engage further in advocacy efforts to raise awareness regarding the disease of psoriasis…” The report itself draws attention to the public health impact of psoriasis and recommends twenty actions and practical solutions to control psoriasis and alleviate its burden.

Ms. Sophie Andersson, Executive Director of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA), was invited to the EADV’s Press Conference of the 25th EADV Congress to speak about the importance of the resolution and the report and explain IFPA’s goals following these significant developments.

Ms. Andersson highlighted the fact that psoriasis is a systemic disease carrying a high physical, mental, emotional, social and economic burden for the patient, including an increased risk of comorbidities (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Crohn’s disease) and ‘even though the disease itself is rarely fatal for the patient, the comorbidities might,’ as she explained.

During the main part of her presentation, Ms. Andersson spoke about the WHO’s Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for 2013-2020. There are currently four main NCDs recognised in this plan: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases and cancer and the Action Plan focuses on four main prevention areas, namely healthy diet, exercise, alcohol and tobacco. Ms. Andersson explained how at least two of these four recognised NCDs overlap with psoriasis’ comorbid diseases. IFPA wants to focus not just on these four prevention areas, but also on early scanning to detect psoriasis. Early scanning will help get better diagnosis and treatment for psoriasis patients and at the same time help prevent other NCDs. ‘This Global Action Plan is a key international document, as WHO member states have officially committed to reporting and working towards the Plan’s targets,’ she added.

With regard to IFPA’s strategic goals for the next few years, Ms. Andersson said that in 2018 there will be a United Nations meeting to revise the NCD Global Action Plan. ‘The Global Action Plan needs to be revised and expanded to acknowledge the evident connection with psoriasis,’ she argued and added that it’s IFPA’s main objective to advocate for an expansion of the scope of the WHO NCD Global Action Plan of 2013-2020. IFPA has been working to set up a partnership, a global psoriasis coalition, which will include patient associations, healthcare professionals, pharma companies, medical associations and policy makers to work towards that goal. The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology has been actively participating in these efforts and is fully supporting IFPA’s plan.

About the Speaker:

Since early 2016, Sophie Andersson has lead the IFPA Secretariat (Stockholm, Sweden) as Executive Director.

With three Master’s degrees in European Law, International Business Law and Negotiation, Sophie is an experienced leader and negotiator.

For over a decade, Sophie has developed an international career in the non-profit sector, focusing on leadership, advocacy and development issues. Working with human rights is an engagement particularly close to Sophie’s heart, as she is driven by the desire to improve people’s lives and contribute to sustainable change.

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