This issue features the participation of 15 MS associations in 10 Arab countries: Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the UAE and Kuwait.
There is also an article by Pedro Carrascal, CEO of the Multiple Sclerosis Association in Spain and Vice-president of the European Multiple Sclerosis Platform, addressing a number of questions about the Mojate campaign to raise awareness and attract funding, which has been very successful in Spain.
- The Tunisian MS Association organized a number of media days / medical lectures on various subjects including the respiratory system and digestion in people with MS, risks to the digestive system, and risks of osteoporosis for those with the disease. The association also organized a number of psychological support workshops in the city of Tunis and Sfax which were well-attended by people with MS.
- The MS Care Society, Egypt, in cooperation with the Egyptian Society and MS Spector, organized the first conference in the region to raise awareness about MS. The conference was held in the Assiut University Conference Hall, with participation from three governorates: Minya, Sohag and Assiut which was attended by 80 doctors and 170 people with MS.
- The Association of People with MS in Sétif, Algeria, organized an information and awareness day at the National Public Museum in Sétif with a neurologist participating. The meeting was attended by people with MS and their families, some associations and the Head of the MS Society in Batna province.
- The Al-Hayah MS Society, Iraq launched a book called “My Story With Multiple Sclerosis” in both English and Arabic, sponsored by the International Multiple Sclerosis Federation , which gathers together the stories of Iraqi people with MS who have overcome the suffering and difficulties of the disease and have become active participants in their society and distinguished members of the Association itself.
- As part of the awareness campaigns organised in schools, the Lebanese Association Against Multiple Sclerosis (ALiSEP) at Lissa Abdelkader School joined with several associations in working out an awareness campaign. Secondary-school students learned about the disease, its causes and treatment methods.
- The Moroccan MS Association (AMMASEP) attended the 10th International Conference of Patient Organisations in Greece.
- The Arfa MS Society in Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with Afaq Al-Arab [Arab Horizons] to benefit from the health care program for people with MS and their families. The program aims to give the beneficiaries 50-80% discounts in more than 650 hospitals, medical complexes and dental and cosmetic centres across the Kingdom. The discount card is free of charge for those with MS, while family members can obtain it at a 50% discount.
- The Friends of MS at AUBMC, Lebanon, organised “The Medical Centre” in the presence of HE Ghassan Hasbani, the Minister of Public Health, and Ms. Thérèze Nemeh Tohma as well as many well-known faces who came to support the fight against multiple sclerosis. The event was hosted by Ms. Roula Safa, and a concert was directed by Mr. Michel Fadel who, along with his band, entranced the audience with a piano performance.
- The Multiple Sclerosis Association in Aden, Yemen, continued its work and cooperation with the Office of Social and Labour Affairs as well as the Office of Special Needs Care Patients in connection with the Office’s continued adoption and documentation of cases of infection, and for issuing cards for them to obtain the necessary medical supplies in the future. Work continues in this direction.
- In January, the UAE MS Support Group participated in an awareness-raising event in Dubai about social, psychological and moral support for people with multiple sclerosis in the country, and ways to upgrade the quality of care and support for their families by allowing people with MS to share their experiences.
- The Al-Hanaa MS Society in Fes (HANASEP), Morocco, concluded an agreement with a medical laboratory in Fes that enables people with MS to benefit from a significant price reduction on tests. An agreement was also signed with a physiotherapy centre in February that allows people with MS to obtain preferential pricing treatment for physiotherapy sessions.
- A delegation from the MS Association in Kuwait took part in a workshop on “How NGOs can attract and manage volunteers’ which was held in the Sultanate of Oman in January 2018.
- The Moayen Voluntary Team from Saudi Arabia conducted awareness workshops on multiple sclerosis in many universities and public and private schools during February and March.
- The Society of Lebanese Friends of People with MS – ALSEP, in cooperation with the Lebanese Red Cross in Baalbek-Bekaa, organized a seminar on “Multiple Sclerosis and its Effects”.
- The representative of the MS Society in Berkane, Morocco, was invited by the Director of Communication and Public Relations at the Centre for Human and Social Studies and Research to discuss a participatory strategy for an awareness-raising campaign in the Eastern Region. The meeting was organised to explain the campaign objectives and the target audience (university students) in order to contribute to creating strong momentum in civil society. After drawing attention to the strategy of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF) within the campaign to raise awareness in the Arab region to the target group, the Director’s response was very positive.