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World Arthritis Day was established in 1996 by Arthritis and Rheumatism International (ARI) and is celebrated each year on 12 October.
Now, people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) from around the world can join together to make their voices heard on this day. World Arthritis Day is an ideal focus for organisations to raise awareness of issues affecting people with RMDs and for individuals to support campaigns.
Although 12 October is the official World Arthritis Day, this is a year round campaign.
The aims of World Arthritis Day are:
The World Arthritis Day website is supported and managed by EULAR, the European League Against Rheumatism.
The European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR) is the organisation which represents people with RMDs, health professionals and scientific societies of rheumatology of all the European nations.
The aims of EULAR are to reduce the burden of rheumatic diseases on the individual and society and to improve the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal diseases. To this end, EULAR fosters excellence in education and research in the field of rheumatology. It promotes the translation of research advances into daily care and fights for the recognition of the needs of people with rheumatic diseases.
The national organisations of People with Arthritis/Rheumatism in Europe (PARE) work together via the EULAR Standing Committee of PARE. Each member country is represented on the committee. The Standing Committee meets twice a year to review progress and plan future activities.
To find out more about EULAR please visit http://www.eular.org
The World Arthritis Day website was set up in 2003 as a centre for campaign activities information and materials for organisations representing people with rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) and individuals. EULAR selects a new theme for World Arthritis Day every one to two years. Below you will find a list of World Arthritis Day themes from 2003 onwards and a screen grab of the website. Under the resources tab you will find some of the materials that were produced under the themes. These include materials in English for individuals to view and download. In the section for national organisations representing people with RMDs there are design templates of these materials with guidelines on how to adapt and translate them for use in their countries. There are also other guidelines on campaigning and graphic tool kits with logos and design elements that can be used on campaign materials and promotional items.
The 'Move to Improve' theme continued in 2012. The website featured a hugely successful ‘Waving for World Arthritis Day’ campaign, which saw more than 65,000 people from more than 70 countries upload pictures to the website of people waving support for World Arthritis Day and people with RMDs. A fabulous mosaic photomontage of the waving photos was created for organisations to use in World Arthritis Day activities.
A 2013 calendar template was developed from the 2011 Action Shot photo competition for national organisations to adapt and translate.
The 2011/2012 theme of 'Move to Improve' was lauched in 2011 with a new look website and the exciting Action Shot photo competition, which featured inspiring photo-stories from people with RMDs around the world, view gallery. Twelve photo-stories were made into a glossy 2012 calendar. The Move to Improve theme continues this year. New resources were provided to help national organisations engage with employers.
For 2009/10 EULAR adopted a two year project looking at work and rheumatic disease under the theme ‘Let’s Work Together’. The theme considered the challenges of work, be it paid employment, voluntary work or work at home supporting a family, and embraced people with RMDs, healthcare professionals and employers.
In 2010 a pack of materials was developed for people with RMDs called Winning Ways to Work which aimed to support people with RMDs entering the workplace for the first time, to help people who develop an RMD whilst in work to remain in work and for people with RMDs wishing to return to work after rehabilitation.
For 2009/10 EULAR adopted a two year project looking at work and rheumatic disease under the theme ‘Let’s Work Together’. The theme considered the challenges of work, be it paid employment, voluntary work or work at home supporting a family, and embraced people with RMDs, healthcare professionals and employers. As part of the theme, a Charter for Work for people with rheumatic diseases was developed and launched at the European Parliament and later in many European countries.
A photographic competition called ‘Picture This’ was run on the website with the aim of finding positive pictures of people with RMDs who had found ways to work successfully.
The 2008 theme for World Arthritis Day was ‘Think Positive’. This theme acknowledges that the challenges associated with RMDs can affect people emotionally, but that there are a number of positive things that can be done to help people with RMDs to feel better in themselves and get more from their lives. The campaign focused on improving access to psychological support and self-management courses to help enable people with RMDs to contribute fully to society and lead independent and fulfilled lives.
The theme for World Arthritis Day 2007 was that ‘Small Things Matter’ for people with RMDs - those everyday challenges around the home, when travelling, shopping or at school, college or in the workplace. A personalised health passport to help individuals and their doctors make the most of their consultations was launched as well as Video Diaries, highlighting that daily life can be full of challenges for people with RMDs.
The World Arthritis Day website was given a new look and the theme for the year was ‘Take Action’ with a focus on the benefits of exercise for people with RMDs. The site featured an online survey and a Take Action booklet on exercise and arthritis was produced in English as well as factsheet on Exercise and Ankylosing Spondylitis, Exercise and Osteoarthritis, Exercise and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
In 2005 the theme for World Arthritis Day was ‘Quality of Life‘ and a booklet was produced called ‘Arthritis: Quality of Life – Living without pain.
The theme for 2004 was ‘Early Diagnosis‘. It sought to raise awareness of the symptoms of arthritis amongst the public and healthcare professionals and to encourage policy makers to make arthritis a greater priority on the European and national healthcare agendas.
2003 was the year of the launch of the World Arthritis Day (WAD) website with the theme focused around ‘Arthritis and Sport‘. WAD raised awareness of osteoarthritis and the importance of taking care of joints early on in life with preventative measures to reduce the risk of developing the condition.
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