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Published on 3 December 2014

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A global call for awareness of psoriasis as a disability

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, IFPA, launches an issue brief highlighting the physical and social barriers that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis face, calling governments around the world to action.

On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, IFPA, launches an issue brief highlighting the physical and social barriers that people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis face, calling governments around the world to action.

Earlier this year, at the 67th World Health Assembly, the WHO member states recognised that psoriasis is not only a serious non-communicable disease, but that it also can be a disabling one. Yet, there is still little or no understanding in the international community, among policy makers or the general public of the disabling nature of the disease.

IFPA Executive Committee Treasurer Josef de Guzman, who has extensive experience in working with psoriasis and disability issues in the Philippines and the WHO Western Pacific Region, has often encountered this lack of understanding:
Today, not many people think of psoriasis as a disability but this needs to change. People with psoriasis suffer a number of limitations and restrictions in their lives due to their impairments and are faced with enormous barriers as they try to interact with society. Just because you have psoriasis it doesn’t mean that you don’t have hopes and dreams like anyone else, yet physical impairments, stigma, discrimination and negative attitudes among the public hinder people with psoriasis from full and equal participation in society.”

To raise the awareness and understanding of how psoriasis can be disabling, IFPA recognised the need for an issue brief on this important matter. Even with the, often severe, physical and social challenges and barriers that confront people with psoriasis, they regularly find themselves excluded from national disability programs.

Kathleen Gallant, IFPA Secretary and Chair of the IFPA Task Force on Noncommunicable diseases, explains the importance of the calls to action in the issue brief:
Most don’t realise how disabling psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can be, especially in terms of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an excellent opportunity to call for inclusion of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis into both international and national health and disability forums and strategies to ensure that persons living with these diseases are given the opportunities they need and deserve.”



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