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AUBMC launches new MS awareness campaign

Khoury, Abou Faour and Sayegh discuss Multiple Sclerosis during a conference at the AUBMC on Thursday, June 5, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: The AUB Medical Center launched a TV commercial Thursday under the patronage of Health Minister Wael Abu Faour, introducing a second phase in the Multiple Sclerosis Awareness campaign that started last year.

The health minister attended the event at AUB’s Issam Fares auditorium alongside Director of the Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute and the Multiple Sclerosis Center Dr. Samia Khoury and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Mohamed Sayegh.

The animated TV commercial shows a young woman experiencing important life landmarks despite her diagnosis of MS at the age of 26, revealing how patients can remain active when offered proper treatment.

“It is a positive spin on MS,” said Khoury, who had grown weary of negative awareness campaigns targeting the illness.

The degenerative disease affecting nerves in the brain and spinal cord can lead to muscular and visual impairment if not treated, said Khoury, adding that 70 percent of MS patients were women.

According to Sayegh, there is no cure for MS, however, early detection accompanied by a proper course of treatment allows patients to “discover life in all its phases.”

The second chapter of the awareness campaign is aimed at increasing awareness of the disease and changing public perception of people with MS, Khoury said.

“AUBMC’s MS campaign complements the ministry’s decision to organize and control the number of patients affected by the disease,” Abu Faour said, adding that five centers set up in the areas of Sidon, Nabatieh, Zahle, Beiteddine and Tripoli would distribute medication to patients who hold the assigned magnetic cards.

In April, the minister announced a 20 percent reduction in the prices of 629 medications, including Avonex, which is used to treat multiple sclerosis, stating that “the ministry would provide medication free of charge for patients who do not benefit from the National Social Security Fund.”

 

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