Dr. Scott’s group has been working to expand nurse training of musculoskeletal diseases in South Africa. He noted that nurses make up a large majority of the initial healthcare response in South Africa and resource poor countries. As participants in the African Paediatric Fellowship Programme, he and others at his institution have helped train many general pediatricians and nurses in pediatric rheumatology.
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Although this initial Global Rheumatolog Summit highlighted some promising areas for innovation and improvement, much work clearly needs to be done to bring true equity to rheumatologic care worldwide. It will take thoughtful work by many individuals in different areas, using dialogue, inclusion, persistence and courage.
As Dr. Alakija pointed out in her initial presentation, “It is up to you, up to me and all the rest of us; only together are we going to bridge these divides. … It is only working together as a global community that we are going to achieve health equity.”
Ruth Jessen Hickman, MD, is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine. She is a freelance medical and science writer living in Bloomington, Ind.
- Less than 10% of African countries to hit key COVID-19 vaccination goal. World Health Organization. 2021 Oct 28.
- Foster HE, Scott C, Tiderius CJ, Dobbs MB. The paediatric global musculoskeletal task force—‘towards better MSK health for all.’ Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2020 Jul 14;18(1):60.
- Henrickson M. Policy challenges for the pediatric rheumatology workforce: Part III. The international situation. Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2011 Sep 12;9:26.
- GBD 2019 Viewpoint Collaborators. Five insights from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Lancet. 2020 Oct 17;396(10258):1135–1159.
- Foster HE, Scott C, Tiderius CJ, et al. Improving musculoskeletal health for children and young people—A ‘call to action.’ Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 2020 Oct;34(5):101566.
ACR Distinguished International Rheumatology Professional Award
The opening session of the Global Rheumatology Summit included the presentation by ACR President David Karp, MD, PhD, of the first ACR Distinguished International Rheumatology Professional Award to Ida Dzifa Dey, MBChB, FWACP, FGCPS, MSC, SCE-RCPMD.
Dr. Dey, a rheumatologist at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, established the country’s first rheumatology clinic in 2009 at Korle Bu. “The need was there—the patients were there,” said Dr. Dey. “But nobody was recognizing their disease; nobody was treating them properly. Then when they knew that the services were available, an avalanche of cases came in.”