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SP0094 The swedish experience - how a patient organisation could reach out to immigrants and develop through integration
  1. T Diao
  1. The Swedish Rheumatism Association (SRA), Stockholm, Sweden


Bakground in the early years of the new millennium many European countries faced an increased number of immigrants due to the second Iraqi war that affected the whole sub region. Some of these immigrants reached the Swedish shores and many of them have RMDs.

In an attempt to help integrate them to the Swedish society, the SRA reached out to these immigrants with RMDs to give them the tools and the knowledge of how to live a decent life with RMDs and also to inform them about how the Swedish healthcare system works. By informing them and giving them the tools to live their lives to the fullest in Sweden the SRA participated indirectly to reduce the burden of the welfare system and also increased the number of our members and embraced the diversity in the organisation.

Objectives By running some tests with our local chapters the SRA noticed that the lack of knowledge about the RMDs was immense among these minorities. So the SRA decided to act together with other actors to facilitate the inclusiveness of these minorities into the society.

Methods To achieve this giant task the SRA applied and received financial support from the Swedish General inheritance fund and collaborated with several health providers, the employment office, some Folk High Schools, ABF (Adult Liberal Education Association) and our local chapters and joinders in 5 of the biggest cities: Stockholm, Örebro, Gothenburg, Norrköping and Umeå.

Results This experience was a breakthrough for the SRA. The SRA was the firth patient organisation that walked this new path. The iconoclastic experience enriched the SRA and gave it a great knowledge of how to reach out to minority groups and giving them the tools to be a fully part of the society despite the burden of the RMDs.

Conclusion The SRA increased it's knowledge, capacity and flexibility during this experience. Today the SRA is cited as a reference in Sweden when it comes to reaching out to different minorities suffering of RMDs. Many organisations are now lining up to work with the SRA in these matters. In 2007 the SRA received the price for best project from the Swedish General Inheritance Fund.

Disclosure of Interest None declared

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