Since 2012 MSIF has been working with MS organisations in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to address challenges faced by people affected by MS across the region. MSIF produces a regular newsletter with updates from local MS organisations in the region. The newsletter titled ‘Tawasol’, meaning ‘communicate’ in Arabic, features news from 12 organisations across 10 countries, including: Yemen, Iraq, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Algeria, UAE, Kuwait and Jordan.
You can download a PDF version in Arabic here: Tawasol June 2023
We asked all organisations to share the key challenges in their countries related to access to treatment in the 31st issue of the newsletter. Below is a summary of the activities for MS organisations across the MENA region.
ARFA MS Society held an art workshop to share the mental health benefits of drawing with people affected by MS. This was followed by organising an art exhibition for 18 artists, including people with MS and beneficiaries of the organisation. The exhibition was inaugurated by the head of the Asharqia Chamber and the vice president of ARFA. ARFA announced the sale of all participating paintings at the end of the exhibition, the proceeds belonging to the eighteen participants.
The Nourane’ des maladies atteints del la sclerose en plaques is trying to find strategies that attract new young volunteers, by developing awareness about the need and impact of volunteer work.
The Minister of Social Affairs met with the Association of Lebanese Friends of MS (ALSEP). The financial and health difficulties facing people with MS in Lebanon were highlighted during the meeting. Discussions included the unavailability of MS drugs, the difficulty of securing them by the Ministry of Public Health and guarantors, in addition to the inability of people with MS being unable to purchase them from abroad.
The Jordanian MS Society created a health unit in Al-Bashir hospitals to care for people with MS and facilitate treatment procedures. The Jordanian Society also facilitated the receipt of medicines through a phone application that secures medicines for people with MS and home delivery.
United Arab Emirates
The UAE National MS Society launched its dialogue initiative as part of the ‘Episodes of MS’ series. MS sessions attracts a variety of participants to discuss various MS topics, with MS, with the participation of several experts, professionals and decision-makers in various fields. Participants meet to discuss critical in-depth topics, allowing for the exchange of views and experiences and exploring prospects for coexistence with MS in the local context of the UAE, as well as internationally.
UAE Friends of MS Society held its General Assembly meeting at the Society’s headquarters, and a new Board of Directors was elected per the Society’s Articles of Association.
The Yemeni Society for the Care of Multiple Sclerosis Patients has submitted claims to international organisations and associations to provide medicines for people with MS. It has also activated and published the first specialised electronic broadcast for MS in the Middle East region, containing varied content including: an introduction to MS and MS symptoms, tips for living with MS, real stories, and recent studies from brain specialists across different Arab countries.
The Multiple Sclerosis Patients Association of Aden continued its activity at the local level by working with the Ministry of Health and the National Supply Program to follow up on securing medicine through communication with the World Health Organisation through the Drug Supply Program.
FMUASEP was invited to a conference on functional rehabilitation to improve motor and balance skills, and information about using internationally traded medicines and treatments. The objectives of the meeting were summed up by discussing the treatment plan and how to positively improve its application with equivalence to programmed chemotherapy by brain and nervous system doctors.
Al-Haya celebrated World MS Day in Iraq for 2022, under the auspices of some pharmaceutical companies, in the presence of people with MS, their families, medical and nursing staff, and those interested in knowing more about MS.
MS Care Egypt organised various educational, awareness and entertainment activities to continuously communicate with people with MS and their families and raise awareness and the public profile of MS. MS Care attended a conference at Al-Salam Hospital for psychological support and participated in the activities of the International Arab Festival for People with Special Needs.
The Kuwaiti MS Society held an event called ‘Challenges and Future Prospects’ to coincide with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December, in cooperation with the Public Authority for Persons with Disabilities and under the auspices of the Minister of Health. The Kuwaiti MS Society contributes to following up on the condition of its members and presents their problems to develop health services and improve their performance.