December 2014 saw Magyar SM Társaság, the MS International Federation’s member in Hungary, host a two-day workshop in Budapest with five other MS organisations.
The workshop, ‘Make your voice heard’, aimed to address the challenges faced by MS organisations in Central and Eastern Europe. The MS organisations in Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia were all represented.
At the event:
- Jill Bonjean, Resource Development Director of the European Rare Diseases Organisation, talked about the best ways of lobbying within an international network
- Communications consultant David Thompson led a communication training programme, which included sessions on developing a strategy, interview skills and other communication challenges
- Yves Brand, External Affairs Coordinator of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform, spoke about European initiatives helping the work of local MS organisations and opportunities for cooperation.
Nikoletta Vincz-Marton, president of Magyar SM Társaság, said: “It’s not enough to know the short-term goals of our organisation for the next few years. In order to guarantee the success of our organisation and better representation of the interests of our patients, we need to have detailed and consistently executed strategies, have to network, and effectively communicate with the relevant members of the sector, policy makers and with the external environment.”
“Magyar SM Társaság does not only represent national interests and provide patient support but, in order to strengthen these actively, it participates in the work of international patient organisations. Magyar SM Társaság is the only Hungarian member of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform, the MS International Federation and Rehabilitation in Multiple Sclerosis.”
According to the data supplied for the Atlas of MS 2013 , Hungary has:
- the highest prevalence of MS in Eastern Europe, with 176 cases for every 100,000 people
- 20,000 people living with MS, with 1.7 women for every man
- 700 neurologists and 40 MS nurses.