The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Progress and challenges in eczema care

Tuesday, 21 May 2024, 14:09 Last update: about 23 days ago

Malta Eczema Society's ongoing advocacy. Words: Melissa Zarb & Michael Boffa

The Malta Eczema Society (MES) was established in 2001 with an important mission - to provide support, information and practical advice to individuals and families affected by eczema. Recognising the void in support for eczema sufferers in Malta, the MES has been instrumental in raising awareness about the condition and advocating for the rights of those grappling with its challenges.

The society's core objectives include offering support through public talks and various activities and fostering awareness about eczema and its associated issues. Over the years, MES has played a crucial role in highlighting the impact of eczema on individuals' lives and the need for a unified front to address these concerns.

One of the significant battles the MES has waged is advocating for the entitlement for free medication for eczema sufferers. Historically, patients with eczema were excluded from the Schedule V list of chronic diseases, rendering them ineligible for free medication - a disparity that was both unjust and discriminatory. Despite the severity and chronic nature of eczema, individuals grappling with the condition were denied the same privileges afforded to those with other chronic ailments.

In a commendable stride towards equity, 2021 saw an amendment to the Schedule V list, now encompassing patients with severe chronic forms of eczema. This legislative change marked a significant victory for the MES and the entire eczema community in Malta. However, despite this progress, challenges persist.

A notable concern is the unavailability of cutting-edge medications for severe eczema in Malta. Medications such as dupilumab and JAK inhibitors, proven to be effective in managing severe eczema in other countries, are yet to find their way into Maltese healthcare. The MES continues to advocate for the introduction of these medications, emphasising the critical role they play in enhancing the quality of life for eczema sufferers.

The MES's unwavering commitment to ensuring that available funds are allocated according to patients' needs transcends the quest for medication access. The society staunchly believes that individuals should not be discriminated against based on the specific chronic disease they happen to endure. Eczema sufferers contribute to society through taxes like any other citizens, and the MES asserts their right to equitable assistance, free from discrimination.

As we move forward, the MES remains steadfast in its dedication to fostering support for eczema patients in Malta. The society's advocacy efforts extend beyond medication access to encompass a broader vision of inclusivity, understanding and compassion for those living with eczema. Through ongoing collaboration with health authorities and the community at large, the MES continues to be a beacon of hope for individuals and families affected by eczema, striving for a future where no one is left behind in the pursuit of better healthcare and a higher quality of life.

Malta Eczema Society are full members of Malta Health Network www.maltahealthnetwork.org

 

Melissa Zarb, secretary and Dr Michael Boffa, president, MES


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