Since 2008, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) has tirelessly advocated to put psoriasis – a common, chronic, relapsing, inflammatory disorder that primarily affects the skin – in front of the World Health Organization (WHO). This hard work paid off and resulted in the approval of a psoriasis resolution by the 67th World Health Assembly in May 2014. This resolution is an amazing step forward for those suffering from psoriasis, and helps spread awareness to end stigma and discrimination worldwide. It also sends the message that psoriasis is a serious inflammatory noncommunicable disease (NCD) that deserves more attention because of its psychological impact and relation to other serious – and potentially deadly – NCDs.
The WHO recently published its Global Report on Psoriasis. Together with the resolution, this report presents an urgent call to action for the international community. In May 2016, the IFPA, in conjunction with Novartis and other affiliated pharmaceutical companies, organized a unique event discussing how to implement the resolution. Here are the key findings:
Healthcare providers need more psoriasis education and training
Particularly within primary care settings, healthcare providers need to build a network of specialists, including dermatologists, rheumatologists, psychologists and others best equipped to help patients manage their psoriasis.
Patient support and education are still needed
Patients and families should help foster the development of organizations that can provide support such as education, counseling and care programs for people with psoriasis.
Policymakers must address access issues
Above all, it is imperative that policymakers work to improve access to services and treatments for people who suffer from psoriasis. A very essential step is the implementation of the resolution in WHO member countries according to national laws and regulations. This will require strong efforts by all parties involved (e.g., governments and health authorities, medical professionals and national psoriasis associations).
We encourage anyone who is impacted by psoriasis or interested in this important topic to read the WHO Global Report on Psoriasis and learn more about how you can best support change in your community. Together, healthcare professionals, patient organizations, policymakers, and patients and their families can make a real difference.