On 9 and 10 October, the International Osteoarthritis Foundation (OAFI) organized the 1st International Congress of Osteoarthritis Patients at Cosmocaixa Barcelona with the collaboration of the Fundación Bancaria Obra Social “La Caixa”. During these two days, Barcelona became the world capital of osteoarthritis with patients as protagonists.
The meeting was attended by the director of quality and innovation of the Ministry of Health, Paloma Casado, the representative of the Directorate General of Health Planning of the Department of Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya, María Pueyo, the director of the program for the elderly of the Fundación Bancaria Obra Social “la Caixa”, Cristina Segura and the president of the OAFI Foundation, Dr. Josep Vergés.
“In OAFI we believe that the osteoarthrities patient must be given a leading role,” explains Dr. Josep Vergés. “For the first time in history, a congress will be held to deal exclusively with this pathology from the patients’ point of view. On may occasions, osteoarthritis is associated with the ailments of age and patients feel alone and misunderstood. However, it is a painful pathology that directly affects the mobility and autonomy of the person who suffers from it, with the psychological wear and tear that this entails. Moreover, it is linked to other co-morbidity problems such as hypertension or cardiovascular diseases, among others, and is considered a serious illness. “
The aim of the congress was to raise the profile of osteoarthritis, a disease that is often underestimated, to learn about the health demands of its patients and make them known to the public and health authorities, and to promote research and innovation in this disease.
Patient associations from all over the world, from the Arthritis Foundation (USA), the PanAmerican League of Rheumatology Associations (PANL), the European League Against Rheumatic Diseases (EULAR), the Spanish Rheumatology League (LIRE), the Spanish Association of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (AECOSAR) and the Arthrose Foundation (Belgium), participated on behalf of more than 150 million patients.
The 1st International Congress of Osteoarthritis Patients was also a meeting point for patients, public administrations, medical and scientific societies, research and development centers and other entities linked to promoting recognition of the pathology.
During the congress, social activities, round tables and conferences were held, highlighting the challenge posed by osteoarthritis for the future of society, the quality of life of patients with osteoarthritis, the pathology in the female population and in athletes, the empowered doctor-patient relationship, the role of the patient in R&D&I and in the regulation of medicines, among other topics.
During the congress, the agreement between FC Barcelona and the OAFI Foundation to work on joint projects in the field of osteoarthritis in sport was presented. In parallel to the conGRESS, the scientific representatives of these associations held the annual meeting of the OA Task Force focused on improving the quality of life of osteoarthritis patients. This group is currently working on a worldwide survey on the quality of life ofo patients, to be carried out first in seven countries (USA, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Spain and Italy) and on an observational study on the relationship between knee osteoarthritis and osteoarthritis.
The Congress coincided with the week of World Rheumatic Diseases Day (12 October), a group of pathologies including osteoarthritis.