More than 125 million people worldwide suffer from psoriasis – a complex and serious disease that can have a large impact on a person’s life, family and community. The Under the Spotlight documentary film project seeks to portray the true nature of psoriasis, and took home the prize for ‘Excellence in Patient Focus’ at the PMEA Awards in London, November 28.
What many people might see as a mere discomfort, or a cosmetic problem, is in fact a serious, inflammatory, immune-mediated disease. Psoriasis can also, due to its very visual nature, be highly stigmatising, leading to ostracism, discrimination and severe loss of self-esteem, even thoughts of suicide.
In 2009 the International Federation of Psoriasis Associations, IFPA, joined forces with UK-based communication experts Lucid and global healthcare company AbbVie to raise awareness about psoriasis and try to eradicate the many myths and misconceptions associated with this noncommunicable disease. This project has since grown to encompass hundreds of short films, featuring people with psoriasis from four different continents who have chosen to share their moving, often heart-breaking, stories with the world.
Putting psoriasis on the global health agenda
The Under the Spotlight project has been used extensively by IFPA’s national member organisations all over the world, in a number of settings, and has also been featured in side events at the World Health Assembly and European Parliament.
“The impact of showing the persons actually living with a disease should never be underestimated”, says Lars Ettarp, President of IFPA. “We see people from all over the world who come from different cultures and speak different languages, but have the same problems, face the same difficulties in their everyday lives. The Under the Spotlight project has not only shown the world how serious psoriasis is, it has also shown millions of people that they are not alone in this disease, and that there is hope for the future.”
Psoriasis – a worldwide problem
One of the programme’s main objectives was to show that psoriasis is truly a global health challenge, and according to the PMEA jury, this has been achieved in a very successful manner:
“This ambitious and effective globalisation programme successfully raised the profile of psoriasis, showing it to be a worldwide problem. Driven by excellent insight it was impressive in both ambition and scale and raised awareness of the deep emotional impact of this disease on sufferers. They did all the right things really well!”