Global Organizations Unite to Combat Joint Diseases

Bone and Joint Decade Action Week, begins October 12-20th in recognition of the more than 400 million patients around the world with chronic pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, spine disorders, and musculoskeletal trauma. Nations and organizations across the globe are participating in Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010 (BDJ), in an effort to raise awareness of these crippling diseases.

“Through coordinated worldwide efforts between government, industry, medical and patient advocate communities, significant rates of death and disability from musculoskeletal disorders can be prevented,” said Prof. Lars Lidgren, M.D., chairman of the BJD’s International Steering Committee.

Global activities include national press conferences, public and health professional seminars, online patient forums, education materials, free bone mineral density testing, radio and TV interviews, heel ultrasounds, osteoporosis walks and risk assessments, children’s scavenger hunts, calcium-rich lunches, hotlines to address bone and joint questions, early childhood nutrition, music shows and information kits for hospitals and nursing homes.

Among countries participating are Germany, France, Sweden, Thailand, Japan, Hungary, Finland, Slovenia, Egypt, Brazil, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the 96 organizations in 56 countries of the International Osteoporosis Foundation, and the 80 national rheumatology societies and arthritis patient organizations of the International League of Associations in Rheumatology, and Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI).

Arthritis and musculoskeletal diseases are some of the leading causes of hospital referrals, disability and absence in the workplace. Over the next twenty years, demographic trends will only continue to intensify the impact of musculoskeletal disorders on society. By the year 2020, health officials believe the number of patients affected could increase by fifty percent to 570 million patients worldwide. To combat this rising trend, Bone and Joint Decade-endorsed organizations are initiating education campaigns in a united global effort during BJD Action Week.

The Bone and Joint Decade is endorsed by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the Vatican, 36 governments, and over 750 organizations, the Bone and Joint Decade is a major global initiative to raise awareness, education, and promote research to combat musculoskeletal disorders. It is an independent global non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the health-related quality of life for people affected by musculoskeletal disorders worldwide. It is the umbrella organization by which National Action Networks, professional medical societies, patient advocacy groups, governments, industry and researchers partner to effect change by: (1) Raising awareness of the growing burden of musculoskeletal disorders on society; (2) Empowering patients to participate in their own care; (3) Promoting cost-effective prevention and treatment; and (4) Advancing understanding of musculoskeletal disorders through research to improve prevention and treatment.

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