Delegates, speakers and staff at the MSIF Symposium in collaboration with the National MS Society UAE (NMSS UAE) during the Eighth MENACTRIMS Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE.

In December 2023, MSIF participated in the Middle East North Africa Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (MENACTRIMS) Annual Congress. In its eighth year, the Congress, held in Abu Dhabi, UAE consisted of presentations and plenary sessions involving renowned international and regional speakers. The congress provided health professionals in the region with the latest information on treatments, epidemiology, diagnosis and much more.

This year, MSIF joined together with the National MS Society, UAE (NMSS UAE) to put together a one-day symposium. The symposium strengthened relationships and learning amongst MS organisations, and health professionals in the region. Through a series of talks and Q&A sessions, the symposium increased understanding of the work of the NMSS UAE and provided MS organisations with access to the latest MS research. It was an opportunity to share global advocacy tools around access to treatment. The event also featured the launch of the MENA Access to Treatment Charter, a project that MSIF carried out with MS organisations in the region in 2023.

The symposium was possible thanks to the logistical and financial support of the NMSS UAE. MSIF is grateful to the small, newly established, team at the NMSS UAE, who went above and beyond to ensure the participation of as many MS organisations in the region as possible. There were delegates from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and the UAE in attendance.

To get a flavour of the event, have a look at the photos and the event video by the NMSS UAE.

Dr Fatema Al Kaabi, Vice Chair, NMSS UAE and Executive Director, Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center taking questions after providing the Keynote address with an Overview of the NMSS UAE. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Paulina Arce-Casillas, Senior Organisational Development and Movement Building Manager, MSIF, presenting the MENA Access to Treatment Charter. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Dr Tim Coetzee, Chief Advocacy, Services & Science Officer, US National MS Society, USA presenting an Overview of the Progressive MS Alliance. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Ghalya al Ali, Co-founder of the NMSS UAE, presenting a snapshot of the levels of public awareness of MS in the UAE and how the organisation responded with its online resources and in-person activities. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Dr Raed Alroughani, MENACTRIMS Secretary General, Kuwait, providing delegates with key research updates from the Congress. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Dr Joanna Laurson-Doube, International Consultant - Access to Healthcare, MSIF, speaking on how organisations and health professionals can use MSIF and MENACTRIMS' advocacy tools. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Cykelnerven International - Trailer

Yasmin Mitwally, Research and Advocacy Manager, NMSS UAE and Dr Ahmed Shatilla Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, NMSS UAE and Consultant Neurologist at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City present a Case study from UAE on developing a MS registry and national treatment guidelines. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE

Najoua El Abkari, President, HANASEP, Morocco presents a Case study from Morocco on how to use the WHO EML to cover the cost of MS treatment by the health system. Image courtesy of the NMSS UAE