The information in the Atlas of MS can be a powerful advocacy tool, raising awareness of MS as a global disease, and of the lack of sufficient resources available to diagnose, inform, treat, rehabilitate and support people with MS worldwide.
Here are two examples of how the 2008 Atlas of MS helped bring about change.
MS Ireland’s campaign
The 2008 Atlas found that Ireland had the lowest number of neurologists per capita in the European Union. It was one of the tools MS Ireland and the Neurological Alliance of Ireland used to persuade the Irish government to make a commitment to ensuring that there is one neurologist per 100,000 people, which represents a total of 42. In 2003 there were 14 neurologists in Ireland, and by 2013 that had increased to 34 approved neurology posts.
Capacity building in the Arab-speaking region
The MS International Federation’s capacity-building programme in the Eastern Mediterranean region has helped increase the number of countries with MS support groups from 8 to 13 since 2008. This is reflected in the increase in information resources provided in the region, although this could also relate to increased access to the internet.