The Atlas of MS is the most comprehensive worldwide study of the epidemiology of MS and the availability and accessibility of resources for the clinical management of MS.
The data shows that the number of people with MS across the globe has increased from 2.3 million in 2013 to over 2.8 million by 2022, and highlights the many barriers and inequalities that people with MS face in accessing diagnosis, treatment and care.
How to use the Atlas of MS
You can use the data in the Atlas of MS in a number of ways to raise awareness, to support your advocacy efforts, and to engage with the government, policy makers and other decision makers.
On the Atlas of MS website you can access and download:
- The global report for the epidemiology of MS, including recommendations for using epidemiology data for advocacy and improving evidence collection.
- The global report for the clinical management of MS, including regional data and recommendations for different stakeholders to improve access to MS healthcare. These can be used for national advocacy efforts.
- Country-specific charts and factsheets. These can be used to compare epidemiology and clinical management of MS between countries.
- The full dataset in Excel to conduct your own analysis and compare multiple countries or data points.
Examples of how data from the Atlas of MS has been analysed by researchers in collaboration with MSIF include:
Watch the video below to learn about how to use the Atlas of MS website and toolkit to produce the evidence you need.
A powerful tool for change
The information in the Atlas of MS can be a powerful advocacy tool, shining a spotlight on MS and raising awareness of the lack of adequate resources available to diagnose, inform, treat, rehabilitate and support people with MS worldwide.
If you are looking to collect data on access to disease-modifying therapies in your country, we have developed a short survey that could help you. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
The Atlas of MS can be a great tool to help identify gaps in data, and areas for advocacy focus. The following examples from India and Ireland show how the Atlas inspired their advocacy campaigns.
The MS Society of India
The MS Society of India aimed to highlight the lack of MS data in the country – particularly about how many people with MS there are in India. Highlighting this issue through the #NumbersMatter campaign helped stimulate discussions about why data is important, and made the case for funding to improve data accuracy and fill gaps. The Map, alongside a petition to ask the government to create a comprehensive national MS database, contributed towards creation of a National Registry for MS in 2022. The Registry now includes data from public and private hospitals. Watch this video to learn more about the #NumbersMatter campaign.
MS Ireland used data from the Atlas of MS to help show where they lagged behind its neighbours in terms of numbers of neurologists in the country. They used this evidence to influence decision makers to focus on increasing the number of healthcare professionals. Find out more by watching this video.
Growing numbers of MS organisations, patient organisations, hospitals and governments recognise the value of gathering data to create MS registries. While some registries collect clinical data from doctors, other registries collect information that people with MS themselves have shared about their condition by completing questionnaires and interviews. Data from MS registries can give a picture of how many people are living with MS in country, and their healthcare needs.
Egypt: Data and access to treatment
Professor Magd Zakaria from Ain Shams University Hospital, Cairo and President of MS Care Egypt, describes the challenge of equity in MS care, using the case study of what they have achieved in Egypt in recent years. Through developing skills in data collection, they were able to use this evidence to advocate for affordable access to DMTs.
The MS Data Alliance
If you are interested in developing a MS registry, you may find some useful information on the MS Data Alliance website.
Our member in Spain Esclerosis Múltiple España (EME), the Biscay MS Society and the MS Basque Foundation, launched an exciting initiative known as ‘EMDATA’. EMDATA is a centralised data repository bringing information about MS in Spain together in one place. It uses cloud storage and dynamic graphs to show the realities of life with MS across the country. EME will use the platform for future surveys, investigations, and data collection. Learn more about the EMDATA project and its benefits in this video.