Psoriasis is a serious, chronic, inflammatory, non-communicable disease
for which there is currently no cure. According to a report from the
WHO, the disease affects around 2 percent of the global population, with
an even higher prevalence in some countries.
Tomorrow, leading experts on psoriasis will gather in Geneva for a
special side event hosted by the sovereign states of Argentina, Ecuador,
Panama and Qatar, in collaboration with the International Federation of
Psoriasis Associations, IFPA.
"The objective of this side event is to inform our fellow delegates
about the severe burden this disease carries for millions of people all
over the world, so that they can fully appreciate the importance of the
resolution on psoriasis being put forward to this World Health
Assembly", comments Dr. Zelibeth Valverde, Member of the WHO Executive
Board and Director of Planification at the Ministry of Health of Panama.
The burden of psoriasis is very often underestimated, yet its sufferers,
apart from experiencing painful and itching skin lesions, are also at
risk of developing severe and disabling co-morbid conditions such as
diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and psoriatic arthritis.
"Studies show that people with psoriasis have an elevated risk of
developing very serious comorbid conditions that not only reduce the
quality of life even further than psoriasis in itself, but can even
shorten the life span by several years. It is imperative that policy
makers are made aware of the importance of ensuring that people with
psoriasis have access to the treatment and care they need to control the
disease", says Prof. Wolf-Henning Boehncke, President of the Group for
Research and Assessment of Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA).
In addition to the physical burden of disease, psoriasis is often linked
to stigma and discrimination, both social and work-related, as well as
depression and alarming levels of suicidal ideation.
Dr Dennis Linder, President of the European Society for Dermatology and
Psychiatry, explins: "People with psoriasis have to cope with other
people staring at them, sometimes even avoiding them, as many believe
the disease to be contagious. They often have to face stigmatization and
discrimination both at work and in their social life. All this triggers
depression, and recent research suggests that depression may,
additionally, be enhanced by the systemic inflammation inherent to the
disease. Finally, psoriasis may even 'damage your life course', by
causing you to live a life 'worse than the one you would have lived
without the disease'. The burden put by psoriasis can therefore really
be extremely high."
At the side event, Josef de Guzman, President of IFPA's regional member
organization in Asia, PsorAsia Pacific, will be speaking about how
disabling psoriasis can be: "Few may think of psoriasis as a disability,
but when you look at the facts it becomes quite clear that many people
with psoriasis suffer a number of limitations and restrictions due to
their impairments and are faced with enormous barriers in their daily
lives as they interact with society. This, of course, has a profound
impact not only on them, but also on their families and society in
general. As representatives of the global psoriasis community, we are
very grateful for this opportunity to inform the World Health Assembly
delegates on the many aspects of this complex and challenging disease."
About the side event:
The side event on psoriasis, titled "Psoriasis: an NCD causing major
suffering and impacts on health-related quality of life" will be held
Friday, May 23rd at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in
conjunction with the 67th World Health Assembly. The side event is
hosted by Argentina, Ecuador, Panama and Qatar in collaboration with
About the psoriasis resolution
During the 133rd meeting of the WHO Executive Board, a resolution on
psoriasis was proposed and discussed, leading to unanimous adoption by
the WHO Executive Board. The resolution is now up for discussion at the
67th World Health Assembly.
To people who are suffering from psoriasis, the resolution is important
because it will help to spread awareness and send a powerful, global
message that psoriasis is a serious noncommunicable disease (NCD) that
needs greater public awareness of its inflammatory nature, psychosocial
impacts and shared risk factors with other, more deadly NCDs.
You can download the resolution here: http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB133/B133_R2-en.pdf
About the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA)
The International Federation of Psoriasis Associations (IFPA) is the
non-profit umbrella organization for the majority of psoriasis
associations from around the world. Today IFPA has 50 member
associations covering all regions of the world. IFPA's mission is to be
the unifying global voice of all psoriasis associations, supporting,
strengthening and promoting their cause at an international level.
You can read more about IFPA, our members and our activities on our
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