The Национално здружение за МС (National Association for MS) is now an Associate member of the MS International Federation. The decision was confirmed by MSIF’s board of trustees at its September board meeting.
Supporting the MS Community in the Republic of North Macedonia
The National Association for MS was established in March 2019 to protect, promote, and reconcile the rights, needs, and interests of people with and affected by MS. The volunteer-led organisation, supports an estimated 1,550 people with MS throughout the country.
Led by its Executive Board, made up of people with and affected by MS, its work is driven by the needs of the MS community and the country’s healthcare context.
The organisation shares MS information in Macedonian on its website, which is regularly updated with key activities and its latest achievements. The Virtual MS Advisor service enables the MS community to ask questions to nine health professionals (including a neurologist, psychologist, physiotherapist and nutritionist). An active Facebook page and Youtube channel reach and support over 65% of the MS population in the country.
The Association provides free legal assistance on topics including pensions, disability insurance and employment relations. It supports its most vulnerable members with food, groceries and basic hygiene items.
The organisation works to raise public awareness of MS, with events primarily taking place in Skopje. In the Spring of 2022 around 2,000 women participated in the Association’s Women’s Race. In October 2022, the Association partnered with the Macedonian Medical Student Association (MMSA), for National MS Day with an interactive educational event and MS webinar on Quality of Life. To mark World MS Day 2023 they held a conference, participated in the Global MS Choir and Art Competition, and took part in the MS Heart Challenge.
Ana Karajanova Dimitrusheva, President of the National Association for MS reflected on the impact participating in World MS Day had on the organisation.
‘In the last few years, we were regularly involved in the global campaign for World MS Day. The campaign gave us invaluable knowledge and experience, which enabled us to progress and develop as Association.’
Advocating for change
From the outset, the Association has worked with national decision-makers to discuss and negotiate policies to improve the quality of life for people with MS. In 2019, in collaboration with the University Clinic of Neurology it co-developed a position paper for the development of an MS Patients Register. This paper was later ratified by the Ministry of Health.
Collaborating with others
The Association works closely with, and has signed an agreement for mutual cooperation with other MS organisations in the region, including the MS Society of Serbia, MS Platform Serbia and the Association of MS Societies of Croatia. It has also worked with the Montenegro MS organisation, adapting a video for children with a parent with MS.
The Association has been a member of the EMSP since 2019, is a member of the World Patients Alliance and an Associate Member of the International Alliance of Patient Organizations. Now, it is a proud member of the global federation of MS organisations.
Ana Karajanova Dimitrusheva says:
‘We are incredibly pleased and honoured to be part of this unique global network of MS organizations of people affected by MS.
We are especially exhilarated that our work has been recognized by MSIF considering we are from a small country with around 1500 people affected by MS.
Thank you MSIF, you are our encouragement to continue working for the good of people with MS.’
A huge congratulations to the National Association for MS. MSIF looks forward to working closely with you. If you would like to learn more about the process for becoming an MSIF member, click here.