From March 12th till April 12th, the Paulo Gontijo Institute (IPG), in partnership with Royal Philips, through the Philips Foundation, organized a road trip to increase societal awareness about ALS in Brazil and provide free care and diagnosis to the people showing signs of ALS symptoms.
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a rare disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A disease, unfortunately, still widely unreported in Brazil. Although diagnosis of ALS in the country does happen – an average of 12,000 patients are being diagnosed in a year – there are still too many people left undiagnosed and there is still too little awareness on how this rare disease should be treated.
Adilson Custódio Pinto, ALS patient and living in the state of São Paulo described how problematic it already can be for the people living near the economic heart of Brazil: "I live near the biggest city of Brazil, and it took a year and half to have a diagnosis. Imagine the people who live far away? This is the essence of the project, bringing information to those who do not have it."
That's why "Living with ALS" focused on educating health professionals, patients, and family members who are familiar with the disease, but also those who have never heard of it. Starting from São Paulo, the 'traveling project' went to Campinas, Ribeiro Preto and Sorocaba, located in the countryside of Brazil where around 30 million people live.
"Royal Philips, through the Philips Foundation, is participating in this important project to increase awareness and show that ALS patients can have a quality of life during the evolution of the disease." – Ana Carolina Delphino, Senior Product Specialist, Philips