Name of the activity: MS – My support, Always by your side

Country/NMO: Montenegro (MoMSIC)

Program: Healthy Lifestyles & Non-Communicable Diseases

Contact information: [email protected]

Type of the activity: Campaign. Combination of education and advocacy. Campaigns create awareness in society about a certain topic (education aspect) and try to funnel this awareness into pressure on the decision makers to adapt policies accordingly (advocacy aspect).

General description:

This is kind of awareness campaign project designed to raise knowledge about Multiple sclerosis in general population and gain support for the ones suffering from it. People diagnosed with multiple sclerosis feel stigmatized due to disinformation that exists right now in Montenegro (there are still people that think this is an infectious disease, some of them are convinced it is strongly hereditary disease, great part would not marry MS patient, a lot of them think MS patients can not have children, that there is not adequate medical treatment in Montenegro, etc. ). Since general population does not know enough about this very topic, this put multiple sclerosis patients in unenviable position, preventing them from being functional members of society. Plus without information that our health system can actually provide the best treatment plans for MS, patients feel reluctant to visit doctors and start with therapy, which steals a lot of precious time.

Focus area:

Support, Treatment and Healthy lifestyles importance in MS

Problem statement:

General populations’ knowledge of Multiple sclerosis is very low,which creates an environment in which people with MS can be stigmatized because of their disease.We did a survey of 1068 people: 24% of survey participants think that MS is infectious disease,18% hasn’t heard for it,55% answered-MS patients can’t have normal life,69% wouldn’t marry the one suffering from MS,43% that MS patients can’t have children,51% think that MS patients don’t have adequate medical treatment in Montenegro…

Target groups:

General population

Beneficiaries:

General population, Medical students, Doctors, Other health professionals, People with disabilities, MS patients

Objectives and indicators of success:

Our objectives are: – to find out how much the general population knows about MS; – to educate the general population about this disease; – to inform people who suffer from MS about available treatment plans in Montenegro. Gaining knowledge and gathering information throughout different activities that also include healthy lifestyles promotion is expected to be successful in changing general population knowledge. Conducting surveys in the beginning and in the end of project will provide us information how successful the project actually was. The percentage of MS patients involved in treatment plans are also being monitoring.

Methodology:

In an effort to promote our activity and get our message to as many people as we could, we arranged a TV appearance on national television, as well as a radio appearance on a local student radio show. We have also created a Facebook page promoting our day to day activities and sharing them to as many people as we could. As a first step we conducted a survey among the general population in Montenegro to grasp their knowledge about MS and its treatment. In later surveys we noticed a trend of people having better understanding of this very disease.

Plans for evaluation:

We will compare survey results. If the percentage of adequate answers increases by 15-20 % this will be huge success for the first time project.