In 2021, EMSP continued to pursue its regional capacity-building approach with online activities supporting specifically the Western Mediterranean, Balkan and Baltic regions.
In the framework of the 2021 programme, we held four online workshops to help the organisations to strengthen their activities. On 7 October we held a discovery workshop for our member organisations from France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain. This workshop aimed to equip the national MS societies and MS ambassadors to foster collaboration and build out the solidarity in the Western Mediterranean region, which was highly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We focused on discovering regional commonalities – common needs and challenges in the region – as well as supporting best practices sharing and peer support, acknowledging easier implementation, given the sociocultural and regional similarities.
Another successful online workshop took place on 27 October for our member organisations from Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Northern Macedonia, Romania and Sweden. The online training led by Stella Pearson – Trainer and Assessor from Helplines Partnership – provided tangible support for the leadership of the MS Societies in the Baltics to establish their needs for a helpline, their purpose and remit, to identify what channels they want to offer, what is needed to set up and run their service, how to ensure their helpline service is safe and to formulate an action plan for next steps.
On 19 January 2022 we had the privilege of receiving guest speakers from the MS Registries of Italy and Norway, who presented the story of their registries supporting the development of MS registries in the Balkan region. The main objective of the workshop was to support MS Societies in their journey to build national MS registries or involve patients in their current existing frameworks.
Graham Halsey from Well Working Matters led our last workshop on the 24th February 2022. The event counted on the presence of EMSP member organisations from the Western Mediterranean region. We were focusing on how priority areas changed for people living with Multiple Sclerosis in terms of employment during the COVID era. Together the MS Societies and EMSP assessed the current national and European policies and worked on a regional policy case to put spotlight on specific challenges that have come to the surface in terms of employment for people with MS during the pandemic.