The month of May is being celebrated as Lupus Awareness Month to help educate the general public about the chronic non-communicable disease.
On Thursday 10 May 2018, the Lupus Foundation of Dominica joined in the global observation of World Lupus Day, which has been celebrated annually since 2014.
“May is celebrated internationally as Lupus Awareness Month and we are joining that effort as well,” Vice President of the Lupus Foundation of Dominica, Shoyea-Gaye Grant Massicotte told Vibes News on Thursday.
“So for the month of May we will be participating in a number of awareness activities, because obviously awareness is low,” she added.
Lupus, according to Medical News Today, is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. This results in symptoms such as inflammation, swelling, and damage to joints, skin, kidneys, blood, the heart, and lungs.
The Foundation’s objective during the month of May, along with sponsorship from Junior Chamber International (JCI), is raising awareness because early detection equals longer life.
“So if person know about it, then they are able to identify the symptoms and hopefully get diagnosed earlier,” Massicotte stated.
Thus, by hosting various campaigns during the month, particularly a social media campaign, the Foundation is hoping to clear up some of the public’s misunderstandings about the disease.
“What we are doing online every day is posting ‘Do You Know?’ facts on our Facebook page and our social media pages so that people can pass it around,” she explained.
Additionally, there are planned ‘Put on Purple’ days where the public is invited to wear purple in honor of people who are fighting lupus, and in other to spread awareness. The next ‘Put on Purple’ day is Friday 18 May 2018.
Massicotte informed that arising from a meeting with the Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and his wife Melissa, where the discussion focused on some of the issues persons with Lupus face, some solutions were suggested.
“We spoke about getting a rheumatologist in Dominica as a possible solution, as well as getting more of our medication available and to subsidize some of the medication,” she indicated.
Massicotte added that the Prime Minister committed to discuss with the Minister for Health the possibility of including World Lupus Day on Dominica’s Health Calendar so it can be recognized on a national level.
For World Lupus Day to be officially added to the Health Calendar, Massicotte said, it would have to be approved by Cabinet and the Prime Minister “has decided to do that for us”.