The Reality of axSpA in our Country and Continent
We currently have 200 registered members that have axSpA.
With a growing membership daily, our role has never been more important.
If we look at the world numbers, and we use a conservative estimate in South Africa of 1 in 500, we would be looking at roughly 160 000 patients with axSpA in South Africa. A lot of patients are not diagnosed or are diagnosed with mechanical back pain without having any treatment.
We have a huge, underdiagnosed situation in our country and if you think about the 80 rheumatologists we have and 60 million strong population, that is little wonder.
This problem spreads into Africa, where there are merely a handful of rheumatologists that service all the countries. Most of the patients are then sent to South Africa for treatment.
Voice of the Expert and Voice of the Patient Campaign
South Africa has been in lockdown for most of 2021. This has caused a great deal of anxiety and stress among our members.
To bridge that, we then aimed to make a connection, bringing the experts to our patients, in the comfort of their own homes.
The Voice of the Patient campaign was designed to bring live witness to patients that have axSpA, to share their own personal story with our members. This also creates the feeling of shared mutual disease burden and makes our patients feel less alone.
The feedback has been overwhelming and this has been the most asked for resource since we have launched this campaign
This has also given our rheumatologists the chance to get involved with the axSpA community.
Walk Your AS Off
South Africa walked this year in full force, and more than doubled our steps to over 7 million. More than 42 members participated in this event.
Walk Your AS Off takes place in May, and is a one of many activities around World AS Day.
– By Maranda van Dam, Chairperson of Axial Spondyloarthritis Association of South Africa
Find out more about the Axial Spondyloarthritis Association of South Africa.