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Psoriasis should be on WHO’s Global Action Plan list of non-communicable diseases

The executive director of the International Federation of Psoriasis Association (IFPA) has urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to officially recognize psoriasis as the fifth non-communicable disease (NCD) on its Global Action Plan during the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (EADV) 25th Congress in Vienna.

During a press conference on Sept. 30, 2016, Sophie Andersson discussed the WHO’s Global Report on Psoriasis, which was published earlier this year. The resolution highlights the fact that psoriasis is not just a skin disease, but a “chronic, non-communicable, painful, disfiguring, and disabling disease for which there is no cure” and “(e)ncourage(s) Member States to engage further in advocacy efforts to raise awareness regarding the disease of psoriasis.” The report itself draws attention to the public health impact of psoriasis and recommends 20 actions and practical solutions to control psoriasis and alleviate its medical and economic burden.

The WHO’s “Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases for 2013- 2020” currently has four main NCDs recognized in this plan: cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and cancer. The Action Plan focuses on four main prevention areas, namely healthy diet, exercise, alcohol, and tobacco. Andersson explained how at least two of these four recognized NCDs overlap with comorbidities associated with psoriasis.

The IFPA wants to focus not just on these four prevention areas, but also on early screening to detect psoriasis. Early screening will help get better diagnosis and treatment for psoriasis patients and at the same time help prevent other NCDs.

“This Global Action Plan is a key international document, as WHO member states have officially committed to reporting and working towards the Plan’s targets,” she said. With regard to IFPA’s strategic goals for the next few years, Andersson said that in 2018 there will be a United Nations meeting to revise the NCD Global Action Plan. “The Global Action Plan needs to be revised and expanded to acknowledge the evident connection with psoriasis.”

The IFPA has been working to set up a partnership, a global psoriasis coalition, which will include patient associations, healthcare professionals, pharmaceutical companies, medical associations, and policy makers to work toward that goal.

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