MSIF statement: War and Conflict’s impact on people affected by MS
Last updated: 16th June 2022
Over the past decade, we have sadly witnessed wars and armed conflicts erupting in different parts of the world leaving civilians including people affected by MS at extreme risk.
Wars and conflicts cause a significant loss of human life and can lead to a detrimental impact on the societies’ economic, political and social life.
The healthcare services can be severely impacted too due to the destruction of the health infrastructure, the fleeing of the healthcare personnel, and interruption of medicine supply and stocks. This leaves people affected by MS with limited or absence of healthcare support, which is necessary to manage their MS.
On top of the many risks civilians encounter during wars and conflicts, people affected by MS can have to deal with additional risks due to loss of support networks, lack of access to healthcare, and/or mobility challenges.
Those fleeing or being displaced in another country face many challenges. Lack of understanding and or lack of access to the healthcare system, treatment reimbursement, and insurance coverages are few to name among a long list of barriers people affected by MS need to navigate on their own.
The effects of the wars and armed conflicts on people affected by MS are residual and can last beyond the war and conflict period.
As in peacetime, MS organisations can play an important role in supporting people affected by MS during wars and conflicts.
The MS International Federation (MSIF) stands in solidarity with all people affected by MS and the organisations who support them wherever they live in the world. In situations of war and conflict, this includes all people with and affected by MS, regardless of the country they live in and which side of the conflict it is on.
We condemn actions of any government targeting civilian objects including; hospitals, healthcare infrastructure, or disrupting healthcare services essential for people affected by MS and people with other conditions.
Despite the fact that MSIF is not a humanitarian organisation nor do we operate in a way to enables us to do so, we do what we can within our mandate and capacity, and in collaboration with our network of members and partners to help people affected by MS in war and conflict zones.
Throughout the MS movement, we have seen many great examples of MS organisations supporting one another in times of peace and war. Only by this solidarity and collaborative spirit, we will be able to alleviate the consequences of wars and conflicts for those living with MS.