Kuwait societies aim to raise MS awareness
Kuwait, May 3, 2012
Two major medical and cultural societies in Kuwait have joined hands with local experts to raise awareness of the neurological disorder Multiple Sclerosis (MS) through a series of educational talks.
“Most of the MS information on the Internet is available only in English, which makes it difficult in predominantly Arabic-speaking populations like Kuwait to keep the patients and public informed,” said Dr Raed Al Roughani, senior neurology specialist in Al Amiri Hospital, Kuwait City, at one of the talks organised by the Kuwait Multiple Sclerosis Association (KMSA) and Kuwait Women Cultural and Social Society (KWCSS).
“We are finding more and more that they use blogs and forums with non-approved medical information as the basis for their choices.”
“Also we’re finding that many people are afraid of being diagnosed with an illness, so while they know that they are exhibiting symptoms that are unusual, they will not go seek a diagnosis out of fear. This is why these talks are so very important,” Dr Al Roughani added.
“The first educational forum hosted on April 15 with MS patients and their families was a great success. Dr Al Roughani answered questions from patients and their families about the best and latest treatments for MS as well as explaining the importance of psychological care for patients to improve their quality of life – information they all quite desperately needed,” said Mona Al Musaireei, chairperson of the KMSA.
The second educational forum that took place yesterday (May 2) evening focused on the critical importance of MS awareness of patients and primary health care providers, to help diagnose the disease, said Al Musaireei.
“There are up to 1,400 patients in Kuwait with MS and our recent results have shown that about 40 per cent are not fully adherent with their current medication regimen. This is a result of the undesirable side effects of some drugs and also a perceived lack of efficacy – the patients believe that the drug has no effect,” said Dr Al Roughani.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health licensed the world’s first oral medication for the relapsing remitting form of MS last year, which affects around two-thirds of those diagnosed with the disease. Local doctors said that this new treatment option would help improve the quality of life and medication for patients in the country.
Existing treatment includes the need for patients to undergo regular injections, which can cause flu-like symptoms for 24 hours and leave red marks on the skin. The new oral treatment would remove the need for these regular injections.
Research figures show MS affects around 25 to 50 people in every 100,000 in Arabic populations and about 100 per 100,000 in Northern Europeans who display the highest risk of MS across the world, with prevalence seeming to increase with further distance from the equator.
MS is a nervous system disease with no known cause that affects the brain and spinal cord, leading to symptoms such as visual disturbances, muscle weakness, trouble with coordination and balance, sensations such as numbness, prickling or "pins and needles" and thinking and memory problems.
Globally MS affects women more than men and often begins between the ages of 20 and 40. The disease can be mild but some people lose the ability to write, speak or walk. There is no cure for MS but medicines can slow disease progression and help control symptoms. – TradeArabia News Service