On World Multiple Sclerosis Day, tackle it

Multiple Sclerosis Madrid

People dressed up as Santa Claus take part in the traditional Santa Claus run in Madrid on December 12, 2015. The race was organised by one of Spain's leading department stores to raise funds for the Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis Madrid.

Photo credit: Javier Soriano | AFP

Today is World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day. The day is commemorated to raise awareness of sclerosis and support and connect to the many people living with it.

Sclerosis is a common disease of the nerves that causes damage to the myelin sheath, which covers the central nervous system in the spinal cord and brain.

The day was first celebrated in 2009 by the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF).This year’s theme, “I connect, we connect”, is about connection building to fight this condition, a global public health menace.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and MSIF say sclerosis affects some 2.3 people. Sadly, thousands of people have gone undiagnosed of this disease because it is unpredictable, progressive and challenging to diagnose. Sclerosis is one of the neurological disorders to which more females than males are vulnerable.

The lifelong condition has no specific cause but scientists are trying to establish it. Many suggest that it might be a connection between the onset of the disease and genes but stress is also suggested to be a cause and even the infectious agents.

Symptoms include muscle weakness, double vision, mental and physical problems, depression, speech and swallowing problems. The condition is destructive since, if the underlying symptoms are not treated through several therapies, the resulting damage to the myelin sheath disrupts the flow of the information within the brain and between the brain and body.

The interruption of communication signals causes the listed unpredictable symptoms of this worrying condition.

It is high time the government and concerned stakeholders prioritised tackling this condition. Let’s raise awareness of the disease, let’s discover people who are affected and come up with a lasting solution to make them survive with the condition.

MS has no cure but symptoms that accompany the condition can be treated, hence limiting its progression. Health facilities should prioritise several therapies since many experts have proven to be helpful in tackling it .It’s advisable to do a lot of physical exercise and vulnerable groups should be free from stress.

The Ministry of Health should limit barriers to access physiotherapy and medication against this condition, it should be free since many people cannot afford treatment. Early diagnosis is instrumental to limit its negative effects and management.

MS is still a threat to human life. Let the world understand this and tackle it for the wellbeing of the citizens. Above all, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be achieved by Kenya Vision 2030 if we are to eliminate this menace in the world at large.

Communities and health facilities should connect with one another to recognise MS patients and try to come up with a lasting solution to the situation.

Rodgers Otiso, Nakuru

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