Honorable Ministers and heads of delegations;
Dr Hoseah Waweru, Vice-President of the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations;
Dr Vicki Pinkney-Atkinson, representative of the NCD Alliance;
Ladies and gentlemen
Thank you for joining us at this Side Event on Psoriasis, and especially to the International Federation of Psoriasis Federations which is partnering with us to raise awareness on psoriasis, and advocate for better prevention and care for people affected by the disease.
Psoriasis is a painful and disfiguring chronic noncommunicable skin disease with has no clear cause or cure, which affects people of all ages, and in all countries.
Prevalence rates range from 0.09% in the United Republic of Tanzania, to 11.43% in Norway – and patients with psoriasis often have significant comorbidities, such as arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome and depression.
In May 2014, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution recognizing psoriasis as a serious noncommunicable disease (NCD).
Member States committed to increase efforts to fight the unnecessary exclusion and stigma of people living with psoriasis, and to raise awareness of the disease.
In line with the resolution, WHO published the Global Report on Psoriasis in February 2016 to draw attention to the public health impact of the disease, and provide policy-makers with practical solutions to improve the health care and social inclusion of people living with psoriasis.
Ladies and gentlemen, stigmatization and social exclusion are completely contrary to our efforts to advance Universal Health Coverage, which promotes equitable access to healthcare, and SDG 3 which strives to ensure healthy lives and ensure well-being. WHO recognizes that multilateral efforts are required to fight this stigmatization.
Research is the foundation of advocacy efforts, yet there is a paucity of data on psoriasis in the African Region.
I urge Member States to collect data on psoriasis to improve our understanding of the burden and impact of the disease. This could be done through community surveys, engaging with frontline health workers and organized traditional healer groups, or through innovative crowd-sourcing of data using mobile technology.
Armed with current data and evidence on psoriasis, we will be able to select “best buys” which are cost-effective, feasible interventions for prevention and control of psoriasis.
We also need to improve the training of frontline workers to probe patients on their dermatological concerns, for early diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
I urge all Member States to familiarize themselves with the WHO Global Report on Psoriasis, and make efforts to integrate psoriasis prevention and control in primary health care settings.
I am confident this side event will provide a forum for sharing of experiences on effective ways to prevent and control the disease, and improve the quality of life of those affected.