Having MS is bad. Very bad. But having MS and not having access to treatment is almost inhumane.
Hundreds of thousands of people with MS do not have access to appropriate treatment. This is true of most people with MS living in the developing world. Shockingly, it is also true of many in the developed world.
45,000 Polish people with MS, or 90% of those with MS in Poland, do not have access to modern treatments. Estonians do not have access to one of the most recent MS treatments. Portuguese to psychiatric services. Irish to MS physicians.
Our 2010 Mission gave us the unique opportunity of working closely with 30 National MS organizations, and seeing - on the ground - how they operate, what works and what doesn't.
Access to treatment is fundamentally provided by governments, and in the countries were this access is good it is because the National MS organizations in those countries knew how to make their governments understand why they should provide this access, and what are the benefits not only to MS patients, but to society as a whole.
In the countries that have the poorest access to treatment, the MS organizations need help learning how to articulate both the problem and the solution to their governments.
We have already communicated with several seasoned MS organizations that have offered to provide this expertise, and together with the MS International Federation we will devise a few knowledge transfer programs.
But the implementation of these programs requires funds, and the MS organizations that needs most help are also the ones with the least resources.
We hope to be able to raise the funds needed to implement these programs and help the hundreds of thousands of people with MS that don't have access to proper treatment.