International Day of Persons with Disabilities

International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is a UN day that is celebrated every year on 3 December.

More than 1 billion people worldwide experience disability, and this number is growing, driven by increased numbers of people with noncommunicable diseases, who are also living longer and ageing with limitations in functioning.

The day is about promoting the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities at every level of society and development, and to raise awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of political, social, economic, and cultural life.

EMEA Supports International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The European ME Alliance supports the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities. We urge countries around the world to officially recognize ‘Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome’ (ME/CFS) as a severely disabling neurological disease which leaves the majority of patients unable to work, and 25% of patients house- or bedbound, often in pain and too weak to care for themselves or their loved ones.

We call on national and European authorities to provide urgently needed biomedical research funding to identify a diagnostic test, biomarkers, treatments and a cure, which are currently lacking for this high burden and under-prioritized disease.

ME/CFS has been acknowledged as a disease of the nervous system by the World Health Organization since 1969 and confirmed as a somatic illness by the 2015 US Institute of Medicine Report on ME/CFS, Beyond Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Redefining an Illness .

Therefore, we call on medical professionals and social services to support this extremely vulnerable patient population and to shield them from stigma and discrimination. Physicians should use the WHO disease classification code 8E49 (ICD-11) (which maps to the ICD-10 code G93.3) when diagnosing the illness using a clinical evaluation according to existing diagnostic guidelines.

Last Update: December 2023

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