I happened to see a RAer just a few days back. A 30 yrs old young lady having RA since 7 years. She was already crippled by the time she came to me. Just a look at her lifestory.. gave up her college due to RA; unmarried & given up the hope of a family…all due to RA. Then.. I realised one more shocking fact. She lives in the metropolis of Mumbai.
Till date, she was never seen by a Rheumatologist. Shame on me as I have not been able to raise awareness about RA, shame on her family physicians as she was not referred to a Rheumatologist for such a long time. Shame on the sociey as she has been rendered a crippled at such a young age: something that could have been prevented.
As compared to diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, we have not been able to raise awareness about RA/ other autoimmune diseases. This remains an important cause of suffering of the RAers. The best way, I feel to go forward is the theme ‘Let’s move together’ started by EULAR. Not just the Rheumatologist but even the RAers & their relatives should take on this task of increasing the awareness about RA.
So then, what exactly can we do?
- Let us all (Rheumatologists as well as Raers) be proactive for RA awareness. RAers & their relatives in particular should be brand ambassadors (not of the Rheumie! but of RA). They are the best examples for the general public. I would urge even the RAers who have done well to be proactive for the betterment of their fellow RAers.
- All of us can be a radio station transmitting information about RA. Social media sites serve the purpose very well.
- Let us increase the noise level (obviously the right kind of noise) about RA on the internet as well as the community. More the noise level, higher the chances that it will be picked up by search engines & made available to those in need. Getting the right RA sites at the top (rather than the magic cure & pharma sites) will do a lot of good to all RAers.
- Let us all pursue our apex bodies like ACR, IRA to spend on raising awareness. Public demand from all RAers would definitely compel these bodies to act.