President, European Federation of National Societies of Orthopaedic and Traumatology (EFORT)
Musculoskeletal conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and disability in the EU and lead to significant healthcare and social support costs. As a major cause of work absence and incapacity they also have a significant economic cost through lost productivity. They can seriously affect the quality of life of those with the conditions and that of their families, friends and carers.
Our society is facing major challenges from demographic, environmental and lifestyle factors, and it is expected that by 2050 number of European citizens over the age of 65 will have increased by 177%. The impact will be significant on our health services and this is already reflected by an increased financial burden on direct (for example, hospital cost) and indirect costs (for example, societal costs for sick leave from work and homecare), especially in musculoskeletal disorders.
The musculoskeletal system provides form, support, stability, and movement to the body. It is made up of bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues. Musculoskeletal conditions are a diverse group of conditions which affect the musculoskeletal system and are associated with pain and impaired physical function. They range from those that arise suddenly and are short lived to life long disorders. They include: joint conditions (osteoarthritis), bone conditions (osteoporosis and associated fragility fractures), spinal disorders (low back pain), musculoskeletal injuries (high-energy limb fractures, strains and sprains (often related to occupation or sports) genetic, congenital and developmental childhood disorders.
For example, the rate of osteoporotic hip fractures has increased by approximately two thirds in the past 20 years. The average age of the affected persons is rising, as studies presented at the 16th EFORT Congress in Prague indicate. Mortality after proximal femoral fractures remains high despite all therapeutic advances, and men have a greater mortality risk.
EFORT works with the European orthopaedic and traumatology community to restore and secure mobility, musculoskeletal health and related quality of life for the European population.
EFORT is the organisation working as a platform on behalf of Europe’s national orthopedic associations linking with European specialty societies and international societies. The aim is to promote the exchange of scientific knowledge, experience in the field of prevention and both the conservative and surgical treatment of diseases and injuries concerning the musculoskeletal system.
EFORT was established by the national associations for orthopaedics and traumatology from 42 European countries as well as 12 associate scientific members.
EFORT today also promotes collaboration with the European specialty societies and has established close links to international societies.
In terms of its legal structure, EFORT was established as a non-profit organisation and all funds are used exclusively in the pursuit of the Federation’s aims.
EFORT designed a Strategic Plan: EFORT pillars
- Education. Setting-up of the European Orthopedic & Traumatology Education Platform (EOTEP).
- Research/investigation. Facilitate and disseminate existing work/projects in the field of translational research to contribute to better practice and improving the quality of EFORT annual Congress scientific content.
- Harmonise guidelines/clinical standards. The content of a guideline is based on a systematic review of clinical evidence – the main source for evidence-based care. Making a database of guidelines from different countries.
- European health policy. Becoming the platform and voice for discussion and promotion of EU affairs related to orthopaedics and traumatology as a work force (scientific agenda).
The partnership offers EFORT the opportunity to work with other actors from patient groups, academics, and medical societies to industry, around a common goal: to increasing healthy and active life years and to contribute in developing innovative solutions in a pilot project, which could be rolled out across Europe. EFORT will continue working with EU institutions and relevant stakeholders with the aim to further position the importance of good musculoskeletal health for ‘Active and Healthy Ageing’.