News Release: World Skin Health Coalition Launched to Improve Health Outcomes for People Living with Dermatological Diseases Worldwide*
May 25, 2022 – Geneva
Today, a patient-led multi-stakeholder group of like-minded organizations – including dermatology patient organizations, health care professionals (dermatologists and dermatology nurses), researchers, and industry – announced the formation of the World Skin Health Coalition. This announcement comes during the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva, as a first step in changing perceptions about the often-severe impacts of these diseases and elevating their prioritization in health policy both at global and country levels.
Skin, the largest and most visible organ of the body, plays a key role in protecting other organs from the outside world, while at the same time, is vulnerable to attack. This vulnerability can lead to highly burdensome and sometimes lethal dermatological conditions. Diseases of the skin, mucosae, nails and/or hair are a leading cause of global disease burden (GDB).1 They affect nearly 900 million people in the world at any time and are the fourth most frequent cause of human illness globally.1 Dermatologists diagnose and treat more than 3,000 different diseases, including atopic eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo, albinism, acne, alopecia and thousands of rare skin diseases.2 Dermatological diseases cause substantial pain, disfigurement, disability, and stigma while they also lead to serious comorbidities and significant psychological, social and financial burdens for patients and their families. Theses diseases can be inflammatory, infectious and malignant, and are among the most prevalent and disabling disorders, particularly in low resource countries.
Despite the substantial scale of this health burden, these diseases, unlike other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), do not receive the global policy prioritisation they deserve. Because skin diseases can occur at any age, they have a profoundly negative impact on the health and wellbeing of patients, their caregivers and families all around the world. Due to their frequent lifelong nature, dermatological conditions lead to sustained economic costs and can pose threats to healthcare systems.
Formed in 2022, the Coalition will advocate to the World Health Organization and other decision makers globally to elevate the healthcare prioritization of dermatological diseases. The multi-stakeholder group is focused on improving patient outcomes globally by raising awareness of the burdensome and multi-faceted impacts of these conditions.
“Collaborative action is needed to change the difficult reality faced by skin patients and for this reason we have established the Coalition. Together, our organizations are actively working to improve patient outcomes globally. This would mean improved access to the diagnosis, care, treatments and support they need, when they need it – no matter where they live in the world. The Coalition speaks as one voice because people living with dermatological diseases, their caregivers and their families deserve to live without stigma, for their diseases not to be minimized and to achieve a higher quality of life.” Marc Yale, Board President of the International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (also knowns as GlobalSkin) and Chair of the Coalition Steering Committee.
“The ILDS is committed to representing dermatology professionals, including representing over 191 member organisations from more than 90 countries, working with patient organisations to improve skin health for patients all around the world. As a founding partner of the World Skin Health Coalition, we look forward to utilising resources to foster collaboration, strengthen partnerships, develop networks to facilitate opportunities to raise awareness of the cross-cutting nature of skin health and impact global health policy. The ILDS is committed to the inclusion of the patient voice in our work; this coalition is part of a meaningful engagement in achieving that goal, and to improve the health and quality of life for patients.” Luca Borradori, ILDS Board Member and healthcare professional representative for the Coalition Steering Committee
“Skin as the largest organ and its diseases are little known and under-represented in the World Health Organization’s noncommunicable diseases agenda globally. The International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO) is pleased to be a partner in the Coalition which will urge the WHO and UN for change and recognition, so that all dermatological diseases are appropriately recognized for their significant burden on people around the world.” Kawaldip Sehmi, Chief Executive Officer of IAPO
Visnja Zaborski Breton
Director of Public Affairs
International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (GlobalSkin)
1. The global burden of skin disease in 2010: an analysis of the prevalence and impact of skin conditions.
J Invest Dermatol. 2014; 134: 1527-1534
2. Dermatology: The Burden of Skin Disease
American Academy of Dermatology: https://www.ncmedsoc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NCDA-AADA-LC-18-Burden-of-Skin-Disease.pdf
*This press release has been updated to reflect a name change of the Coalition since time of launch.
At the time of launch - The Coalition is comprised of the following 20 organizations:
- Bristol-Myers Squibb
- Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation
- Dermatology Nurses Association
- European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations (EFA)
- European Society for Dermatological Research (ESDR)
- International Alliance of Dermatology Patient Organizations (GlobalSkin)
- International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO)
- International League of Dermatological Societies (ILDS)
- International Pemphigus Pemphigoid Foundation (IPPF)
- La Roche-Posay International
- LEO Pharma
- Lupus Europe
- Naevus Global
- Pediatric Dermatology Research Alliance (PeDRA)
Skin: largest organ of the body
- essential for life (barrier, protector)
- first contact surface: critical for social relationship and individual well being
More than 3000 skin diseases
- Can occur at all ages, worldwide
- involving skin, mucosae, nails and/or hair
- Various groups:
- Inflammatory-immune mediated dermatoses
- Infectious (bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic)
- Malignant skin tumours
- Hereditary/congenital dermatosis
- A leading cause of global disease burden (GBD) affecting millions of people in both high income and low-income countries.
- 3 skin diseases: among the top 10 most prevalent diseases
- 8 skin diseases: among the top 50 most prevalent diseases
(Source: GBD and WHO study, 2010)
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