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EULAR international liaison activities
  1. A D Woolf

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    For a variety of activities with the Bone and Joint Decade, WHO, and the European Community, liaison is being maintained to promote European rheumatology and EULAR.


    Over 1200 organisations are now supporting the decade

    Multidisciplinary national action networks (equivalent to combined scientific and social leagues) have now been established in 51 countries. National coordinators in a further 39 countries are trying to establish more national action networks. The networks work together to gain priority and to improve health care for musculoskeletal conditions.

    Forty six governments have now endorsed the decade.

    The WHO technical report on the “Burden of musculoskeletal conditions at the start of the new millennium” will be published this year. This provides data on the impact of the different major musculoskeletal conditions throughout the world and gives recommendations for their monitoring.

    Data are being supplied to the WHO Global Burden of Disease Project to facilitate the revision of their estimates of the global burden of musculoskeletal conditions. These estimates will be published in the “Global burden of disease 2000” as well as in the annual World Health Report. As a consequence of this work the burden of low back pain and gout are included for the first time, and estimates of the burden of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions have increased for rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, back pain and trauma.

    A core set of indicators is being developed for various musculoskeletal conditions within the framework of the WHO International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO ICF).

    A collaborative programme of further work is being developed with the WHO, Geneva.

    Educational standards are being raised for all doctors by the development of recommendations for a core undergraduate musculoskeletal curriculum. This has been in consultation with a wide range of relevant organisations, covering rheumatology, orthopaedics, and rehabilitation. It has been endorsed by the American College of Rheumatology. It has been submitted for publication.


    Health promotion schemes throughout Europe within the CINDI programme are being developed. These will co-promote the benefits of healthy lifestyles—for example, diet and physical activity, for musculoskeletal conditions along with their benefits for cardiovascular disease.

    Communication is continuing with the European Observatory of Health Systems.


    Two projects are running with support from the European Community Directorate of Public Health.

    The European Bone and Joint Health Strategies Project is developing a common public policy from existing knowledge to deal with risk factors to musculoskeletal health (prevention) and to enable people with musculoskeletal conditions to enjoy their full health potential (treatment). Recommendations will be made for their implementation. This is also in collaboration with EFORT and IOF.

    The European Bone and Joint Indicators Project has first summarised the health status indicators currently being used in Europe and then made recommendations for a set of indicators to monitor health status of the musculoskeletal conditions across the Community.


    The educational activities in rheumatology to raise standards of training and patient care were presented at the World Federation of Medical Education in Copenhagen, March 2003.


    European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology

    A symposium was held at EFORT in Helsinki, June 2003 to present the “European Bone and Joint Strategies Project”, which is being undertaken by a partnership of the Bone and Joint Decade EULAR and EFORT. This provided an opportunity to discuss the interaction between rheumatology and orthopaedics for a spectrum of rheumatic diseases.

    A symposium on education included activities undertaken in rheumatology to raise educational standards.

    European Health Promotion Association

    Liaison has been established with the European Health Promotion Association for the dissemination and implementation of European health strategies. There is also liaison with individual national health promotion agencies through the WHO Europe CINDI programme.

    European Public Health Association

    Liaison has also been established with the European Public Health Association for the dissemination and implementation of European health strategies.