In August Sarah Dobson, MSIF’s Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer, met with local MS organisations in Taiwan and South Korea. The trip was a great opportunity to connect with leaders of the MS movement in East Asia.
In Taiwan, Sarah met with Angelina Lei, Chairman of the Taiwanese MS Society. The Taiwanese MS Society is a volunteer-led organisation that supports around 300 people affected by MS across Taiwan. The Society organises events, advocates for the local MS community and offers information and support to people affected by MS.
During the meeting, Sarah and Angelina discussed the current challenges facing people with MS in Taiwan. MS is not well understood in Taiwan, which can lead to discrimination. Although the Government subsidises some MS treatments, support is often limited. The Taiwanese MS Society meet government representatives several times a year to try to improve national policy for people with MS.
After Taipei, the next stop on Sarah’s trip was the Korean MS Society office in Seoul where she met President Yu Ji Hynn, Chairman Kim Hong Lim and Jinyong Kim. The Korean MS Society supports around 2,500 people affected by MS throughout South Korea. The organisation has 6 local branches that provide services and advice to people with MS across the country. People living with MS in South Korea often experience social stigma and can find themselves at a financial disadvantage because of barriers in the workplace.
The Korean MS Society carries out national influencing work to advocate for better treatment for people with MS. A particular area of focus is making sure that people with MS get the right financial support to afford treatment. The Korean MS Society told Sarah that the situation has been improving and more people with MS in South Korea are accessing the right support.
Both the Taiwanese MS Society and the Korean MS society were enthusiastic about future collaboration with the global MSIF movement.
‘It was fantastic to meet some of the leaders of the MS movement in East Asia. It was great to learn more about the work of the Taiwanese MS Society and the Korean MS Society. I am very grateful to both organisations for making me feel so welcome. MSIF looks forward to continuing our collaborations and improving quality of life for people with MS in Taiwan and South Korea.’