Autoimmune disease is on the increase yet researchers do not know exactly what causes the disease. Diet, infections or exposure to chemicals are possible triggers of the disease.Systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases include more than 100 conditions and are estimated to affect at least 5% of the world population, causing significant morbidity and mortality.
Unfortunately, many patients in developing countries do not receive appropriate medical care, and autoimmune diseases are either unrecognized or inappropriately treated. In South Africa access to health care services is problematic due to financial constraints, there is a shortage of skilled nurses and physicians, rheumatologists are rare, and the availability of immunological diagnostic services are limited. Even when autoimmune diseases are suspected or diagnosed, the lack of patient education and the use of traditional medicine delay the initiation of treatment which is often too costly.
It is vitally important that diagnostic and therapeutic services along with increased awareness of autoimmune diseases by the patient, families of patients’ and the care giver community be improved
Sustainable Care for Specialized Diseases was formed to encourage more people to learn about this diseases so that we all can contribute to support and improve the quality of life for these patients.