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Maltese Fibromyalgia And M/E Activist Shows How Much Medication She Needs To Take In Order To Function

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Leading Maltese fibromyalgia and M/E activist Ruth Debono has shown people how many medications she needs to take in order to function in her daily life as she urged the government to improve its aid for the condition.

Debono, CEO of the ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia Alliance, published photos of 15 different types of medication, which she said cost her around €150. She warned it isn’t even an exhaustive list as it doesn’t include certain sleep medications, heat balms and other medications needed on a case-by-case basis.

However, only three medications – Amitriptyline, Pragiola and Tramadol – are provided by the government for free, and she warned not everyone can take these three medications due to their side effects.

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and M/E sufferers have long been crying out for the Maltese authorities to recognise their conditions as a disability and to give them financial aid in terms of medication, vouchers for food allergies, vouchers for treatment like acupuncture and pool therapy, and long-term home help to alleviate their symptoms.

“What we are after- disability- is not a whim we decided on having,” Debono said. “No. It is a need, a recognition we need to help improve our lives.”

“What we need is financial aid: disability benefits, therapy long term,home help, vouchers  for food allergies, vouchers for treatments like acupuncture, pool therapy, physiotherapy etc. Not a one size fits all care but a planned programme individually prepared by a consultant and their patient.”

The PL’s manifesto promises more free medication and treatment to fibromyalgia sufferers but doesn’t give any details on how extensive the programme will be.

PN MP Alex Borg

PN MP Alex Borg

Earlier this week, Debono and PN MP Alex Borg questioned the government’s health budget priorities after Prime Minister Robert Abela pledged that sex reassignment surgery for trans people will be made free of charge.

They said that while they agree with the sex reassignment proposal, the government should first focus on helping out people suffering from fibromyalgia and similar invisible conditions.

Borg’s comment prompted a bit of a backlash, with Parliamentary Secretary for Equality Rebecca Buttigieg and a number of LGBTIQ+ activist groups calling him out for not adequately acknowledging the needs of trans people. 

Do you think the government should offer more financial aid to fibromyalgia sufferers?

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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