On World Arthritis Day, the Malta Association for Arthritis and Rheumatism (ARAM) said it is promoting a campaign to raise greater awareness on the challenges presented by such conditions at the work place.
According to the latest research by the Directorate for Health and Prevention from Illness, there are about 60,000 persons in Malta that suffer from some form of arthritis. It is estimated that today the number of patients has increased to about 70,000.
Although doctors have not as yet discovered the causes for arthritis, genetics, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are thought to be causes for the onset of the condition.
Arthritis is mainly associated with elderly persons but may affect any person, including children. If the condition is detected early it may be controlled through treatment including pills and specialised inoculations.
This year the Association is promoting a campaign ‘Time2Work’, to urge arthritis patients to remain at their work place because the condition can be controlled.
The Association is planning to start discussions with various employer organisations as well as patient organisations to plan the way forward.
Association President Mary Vella appealed to employers to adopt inclusive practices so as to enable arthritis sufferers to experience less discomforts and not suffer isolation at the work place.