Lodewijk Ridderbos, director of the Reumafonds, and Jet Bussemaker of the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, open the trading day to mark the start of World Arthritis Day.
In the Netherlands, 2.3 million people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Two thirds of them (1.5 million people) are younger than 65 and have jobs (13% of the workforce). Arthritis sufferers often remain silent about their illness because they are afraid of losing their jobs; a very real fear during the current recession. However, continuing to work is vital to their self esteem, social network and economic situation. It is also vital to society as a whole as the social cost, including loss of productivity due to illness and disability, amounts to approximately 11 billion euros. The annual cost of medical care is 2.1 billion euros. The Reumafonds wants to work with the government to encourage discussion of rheumatoid arthritis in relation to the work environment, and to prevent job losses and achieve cost savings for businesses and the public sector.
For more information: www.worldarthritisday.org
see also: www.reumafonds.nl (Dutch only)