The Atlas of MS is a powerful advocacy tool for change.
On this page you will find tips and ideas for using the Atlas of MS data and social media tools. You can use the data in the Atlas of MS in a number of ways to raise awareness, get noticed or to support your advocacy work and engagement with the government, policy makers or healthcare providers.
You can analyse the full results using the Atlas of MS visualisation tool as well as downloading the written reports. We urge you to review the recommendations outlined in our reports to drive change to improve the quality of life of people affected by MS.
Click on the view toolkit button above to download a variety of materials to help you use the data in your advocacy work and amplify the key messages:
- Epidemiology and Clinical Management reports (English, Spanish and Arabic)
- Atlas logo (available in English, Spanish and Arabic)
- Social media infographics and email signatures (available in English, Spanish and Arabic)
Using epidemiology data as an advocacy tool
A recent epidemiological study led by the National MS Society (NMSS) showed the number of people with MS in the United States was nearly 1 million people (913,925). This was more than twice the previously reported number from a national study in 1975 and subsequent updates.
NMSS has successfully leveraged this revised prevalence estimate to increase investment in MS research and improve MS data collection at a national level. Here are two of the successes this data-driven advocacy has had so far:
- The U.S. Congress increased investment in MS research at the Department of Defense by $10 million USD and the House of Representatives has earmarked a possible further increase to $20 million USD for the programme in 2021.
- The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established and funded the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System. The CDC launched 2 pilot programmes, one in MS and one in Parkinson’s Disease, to identify U.S. incidence and prevalence for those diseases.
We encourage you to use the data and tools to…
Review the most comprehensive global source of MS epidemiological and clinical management information:
- Download maps, charts, factsheets, the reports and scientific papers to include in your awareness building, advocacy and research communications, as well as sharing with key partners and stakeholders (governments, healthcare providers and professionals, policymakers and researchers).
- Download the full data set to allow you to compare a selection of countries
Examine the data to see how your country compares to others in the region or with a similar income:
- Is the prevalence in your country higher or lower? You might be able to use this information in your advocacy activities. For example, if similar countries have higher health spend per capita on people with MS or better protective legislation, could you use this data to make a case for change in your own country? If the prevalence is lower, could you advocate for MS to be classed as a rare disease? In some cases, this classification can mean people with MS have improved access to treatments. Or could a lower prevalence be explained by having more barriers to diagnosis in your country compared to others? If so, could you use this data to advocate for change to ensure that the true burden of the disease is known and importantly that people with MS can access the care and treatments they need?
- Is there a similar demographic profile among people with MS in your country and another country? Are there any learnings or examples you can take from a similar country that you could incorporate into your own advocacy asks? For example, you might see policies that provide better access to healthcare or protective employment legislation for people with MS. Use the data in the Atlas to increase pressure on policy makers, the government or healthcare providers to ensure that people with MS can access the support and healthcare they need, with the right protective legislation in place.
- Is there a lack of epidemiological data or evidence in your country that influences how importance decisions are made? Do other countries in the region have better quality data? Use this evidence and comparison to advocate for improvements in data collection. For example, you may decide to develop a campaign to persuade the government to fund and develop the infrastructure needed to create a national registry.
Promote the key findings of the Atlas of MS by sharing them with people in your network (people affected by MS, MS organisations, policy makers, government, researchers, decision makers)
- Share the Atlas videos, social media frames and graphics, and use the email signatures.
- Create your own key messages based on the information available in the Atlas. Consider the needs and experiences of people affected by MS in your own country, and tailor the messages to your advocacy priorities.
Help us by sharing good practice and success stories:
- We hope the advocacy examples above will inspire you and help you think through how you can use the Atlas of MS to bring about real change with and for people affected by MS.
- Tell us how you have used or how you are planning to use the Atlas data to raise awareness or to drive change. Get in touch by emailing us at [email protected].
This 3rd edition of the Atlas of MS provides updated data on the prevalence and incidence of multiple sclerosis around the world. The information presented in this 3rd edition will guide policy-makers, health planners and specialists, in order to decrease inequities and improve care to MS patients globally. It provides a valuable tool for decision making and the planning of services to diagnose, treat and support people with MS.
Unit Head, Brain Health Unit, Department of Mental health and substance use
World Health Organization