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MSIF World Conference 2018 Report

Deidre and Astrid
28 November 2018

Advocacy, alliances, awareness, collaborations and other essentials

A vital part of the MS Australia role is to advocate, raise awareness and lobby for key and topical issues that impact people living with MS.

At a national level, we lobby to make systemic changes which, over time, has focused on advocating for improvements to the health, disability and aged care sectors by meeting with politicians and other key decision makers to raise awareness about pertinent issues.

Our work is informed and guided by listening to the MS community, observing and influencing the social and political landscape through the media and other forums, and learning about contemporary/innovative practices and communication methods in the MS space. This can include collaborations, information-sharing and joint activities with other organisations at a national and international level, where a common purpose exists. 

As the Australian member of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation (MSIF), we were honoured to be invited to participate and present at the recent MSIF World Conference in Rome.

Co-hosted by the Italian Multiple Sclerosis Society and MSIF, this six-day key event in the global MS calendar brought together top researchers, leaders from the international MS movement and people living with MS from all corners of the globe.

The 2018 conference was a chance to exchange skills, experiences and best practice, and to discuss the latest innovations in MS research, treatments and issues affecting quality of life for people living with MS, both in Australia and globally.


MS Australia at the MSIF World Conference

October 2018


At a day workshop dedicated to young people with MS, MS Australia was represented by our National Advocate Astrid Edwards. Peppered throughout the dynamic presentations and discussions led by young people representing global MS organisations, Astrid’s tweet reports covered topics such as disclosure, accessibility, new ideas, messaging, services, the needs of young people and the changing nature of MS over the years.

To read Astrid’s summary visit or


This day focussed on the latest research and therapy that impacts the lives of people with MS.  Astrid again live tweeted her personal perspectives on the various updates, which you can view on the October 25, MS Australia Twitter and Facebook pages.


With the focus of the day on “Innovative programme initiatives being carried out around the world”, MS Australia was delighted to present in two sessions. 

During the Raising awareness with impact session, MSA CEO Deidre Mackechnie spoke about our approach to government lobbying, with a focus on the Roadmap to Defeat MS initiative (also visit here), developed in association with our partner organisation, MS Research Australia and launched by the Federal Health Minister on World MS Day 2018.  The presentation included the importance of collaboration, learnings, key achievements, teamwork and next steps.

Later in the day, in the Volunteers at the heart of MS organisations session, Deidre discussed the MSA National Advocates Program and introduced Astrid Edwards, who provided a lively overview of her experience as a volunteer national advocate.

MSIF World Conference
October 2018 - Rome, Italy


Deidre at MSIF 1

Deidre at MSIF 2


Deidre at MSIF 3


Day 3 - Sharing Skills and Best Practice: MS Australia CEO Deidre Mackechnie presents on the “Roadmap to Defeat MS” initiative.

Volunteers at the Heart of MS Organisations


Day 3: “Innovative Programs around the globe”


Deidre and Astrid

L-R: MS Australia CEO Deidre Mackechnie and National Advocate, Astrid Edwards about to present!



MSIF Twitter

#msifworldconference trending in Italy and globally!