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National Initiative Against Osteoporosis launched in Germany

Initiative unites diverse osteoporosis organizations and gains political support from an all-party interest group

The National Initiative Against Osteoporosis is an alliance against osteoporosis which was founded by the DVO (the umbrella organization of German scientific osteology-related societies), the DOP (the umbrella organization of osteoporosis self-help groups and patient societies), and the Bone and Joint Decade. By joining forces, the NIO initiators hope to raise awareness of the osteoporosis treatment deficit in the country. Up to six million people in Germany are suffering from osteoporosis, making it the most common chronic disease in the country. Yet fewer than 25% of people with osteoporosis receive adequate treatment.

The initiative, supported by IOF within its Invest in Your Bones Campaign, is now receiving support through an all-party interest group formed in April 2005 by prominent politicians. Members include Professor Rita Süssmuth, former president of the Bundestag (German Parliament) and patron of the initiative, parliamentarians Dr. Erika Ober (SPD), Detlef Parr (FDP), Horst Seehofer (CSU, former minister of health) and Annette Widmann-Mauz (CDU), patient representative of the German government, Helga Kühn- Mengel (SPD), vice president of the German Trade Unions (DGB) Dr. Ursula Engelen- Kefer, and Dr. Angelika Niebler (CSU) MEP and co-chair of the European Parliament Osteoporosis Interest Group.

The goals of the initiative, based on the evidence- based guidelines on osteoporosis issued by the DVO, are to improve recognition that osteoporosis is one of the most common chronic diseases; ensure that diagnostic and treatment options for patients at risk of osteoporosis are available before the first fracture; improve quality of care of osteoporosis patients in order to help prevent osteoporotic fractures; strengthen patient self-help and to establish adequate preventive measures for those groups within the population at high risk of osteoporosis.

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