Multiple Sclerosis is life-long and life-changing BUT people with MS can lead fulfilling lives. YOUR support helps! Please donate today!
Who is MSNZ and what do we do?
MSNZ is the National Society for MS in NZ. Formed in 1967 MSNZ currently supports 18 Regional Societies across the country. MSNZ and our Regions provide support and information to help people understand, manage and successfully live with MS or to care for someone with diagnosed.
Through the work we do our overall mission is to advocate for people with MS in New Zealand to have access to first world treatment, resources and services to improve their well-being and quality of life as well as working to reduce the burden of MS on those diagnosed, their carers and families.
We aim to support the needs of people with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS), their families, carers and support networks by providing them with the tools they need to empower themselves to live a life where they can feel a valued and valuable member of the community and family . No two people with MS experience the condition the same and therefore the needs of the MS Community are varied.
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Multiple Sclerosis (or MS as it is often referred to) is one of the most common conditions of the central nervous system.
In MS, scarring (sclerosis) in multiple areas to the fatty sheath (myelin) covering the nerves and spinal cord causes distortions to or prevents the flow of messages to other parts of the body. These distortions cause a range of symptoms for people with MS.
The symptoms can make MS a challenging condition, for which there is no currently known cure or cause but with the right support and information for many it is managable.
Facts About Multiple Sclerosis in New Zealand
- Around 4000 people are diagnosed with MS in NZ
- MS is one of the most common neurological conditions in New Zealand
- The cause of MS is still unknown, researchers are working globally to find a cure
- Women are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with MS than men
- MS usually appears in the prime of a person’s life between the ages of 20 and 50 with a peak in the early 30s
- There are 4 types of MS. The progression of a person’s condition is unknown
- Diagnosis is often life changing. Many feel isolated and misunderstood by society due to many of the symptoms being invisible and a lack of understanding of the condition nationally
- MS is not a genetic condition however the incidence is noted to be marginly higher among families with a person diagnosed.
- The MS Incidence Study identified 185 people with CIS and 274 PwMS out of over 800 cases which studied between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2014. This means that on average there are 130 – 230 new cases of MS being diagnosed in NZ every year that require information and support as well as their families, carers, employers and support workers who may require advice and information.
How will your donation be used?
MSNZ strives to provide effective advocacy on behalf of People with MS and those living with and affected by the condition. We work based on the expressed needs of MS Community through findings from surveys, conversations and demonstrated needs. We work with allied organisations and health professionals to strengthen the stand on common issues and receive input and consultation from our membership and the MS Community.
Getting you connected
For many, MSNZ is their first port of call when they have a need or are newly diagnosed. By having a central helpline MSNZ is able to put them in contact with the support services in their region in an efficient and productive manner.
Supporting your community supports
Not only is our role as the National MS Society to advocate for the needs of People living with MS but also for our member organisations. We work collaboratively with out Regional Societies to gain a clear understanding of the diverse needs of PwMS together ensuring they are provided with choice and access to services.
Information and Education
MSNZ provides relevant, evidence-based and up to date information on MS, its management and available resources. There is a need for education, information and advice about MS at many times during the course of a persons MS, during diagnosis, during a relapse or progression of the condition, when requiring information about how to balance their life with the condition or by family members or support networks who are wanting to know how to best support someone with MS.
Over 7000 pamphlets, books and other educational resources have been distributed in 2015 and 2016, the majority of these are funded and supplied free of charge by MSNZ and distributed through our Regional Societies.
The availability of information is particularly important as many are either not at a point when community based support is needed, or they are not ready to come to terms with their condition. Upkeep of the website to ensure information is available and useful is a key mechanism to address this need.
Field Worker Training
MSNZ organises Field Worker Training annually which is attended by those working in our Regional Societies across the country. Training provides Field Workers with relevant, up-to-date and varied information to use in their work encouraging consistent and professional services. Field Workers are provided with information to support their clients with their choices.
Raising the Awareness of MS
Despite MS affecting around 4000 people who are diagnosed, as well as their families, friends, carers, employers and supports it is still a relatively unknown condition in NZ. The lack of knowledge and understanding can make life with MS difficult and isolating for many. Due to bad experiences many are unwilling to share their diagnosis with those around them, particularly their employers for fear of what this will mean.
MSNZ administers two scholarship programmes to help keep people active and achieve their dreams as well as assisting with retrtaining to stay in employment therefore enabling them to continue to be a contributing member of their community and provide for their families.
What services are in my region?
There are 18 regional MS Societies across New Zealand providing support to most corners of the country. You can contact your Regional Society or to donate to them directly through the details available here:
North Island Societies: http://www.msnz.org.nz/Page.aspx?pid=317
South Island Societies: http://www.msnz.org.nz/Page.aspx?pid=318
Each Regional Society has skilled and experienced Field Workers who, if required, can assist you in finding the services you need. Our Field Worker Service has developed from humble beginnings into a vital, high profile service, staffed by well-qualified people who are required to have a prior qualification and experience in such areas as teaching, nursing or social work. MS Society provide on-going support to people with MS by:
• working with people newly diagnosed with MS on a one-to-one basis
• offering up-to-date knowledge of MS and its management
• providing advocacy and support
• offering counselling or referrals to appropriate agencies
• supporting partners, carers, families, friends, health professionals, employers and workmates
• facilitating groups for people newly diagnosed and their partners, carers, children, workmates
• offering assessment facilitation
• providing social contact, for those who want it, with other people with MS, on either a group or individual basis
• liaising with other services such as home-based care providers, community health services, counsellors, professionals Work and Income to coordinate client needs
• carrying out mobility assessments
• Some also offer physiotherapy, yoga classes, hydrotherapy at local pools, as well as advising about assistive devices for daily living.
Between 29th August and 4th September 2016 Regional Societies are holding Awareness Events and Street Appeals. For many this is the main fundraiser of the year with much needed donations going directly to supporting the work they do in the community to help people needing support with MS. Please give generously and show your support for People living with MS and those dedicated to providing help to those needing it.
A special appeal day is being help by the BNZ on Wednesday 21st September 2016. Please give generously to collectors if you see them and all funds raised on the day will support regional societies in the local communities.
MSNZ exists to provide on-going support, education and advocacy for people with MS and their support networks. While MS is a chronic condition which, for many, with the right support can be managed. Our aim is to ensure that wherever you are in the country you have access to a high level of information and support.
MS is a very misunderstood and unknown condition and we aim to raise awareness, change attitudes and work to build an environment that does not present barriers for people with chronic conditions such as MS.
MSNZ is the national voice of the MS Community standing up for the rights of those affected, liaising with allied organisations and government bodies to ensure policies concerning people with MS receive considered input from those affected.
MSNZ provides information resources to our 18 Regional Societies around the country free-of-charge to be provided to people looking for information about MS in their communities. We also provide annual training for our Field Workers, who are employed by their regional societies, across the country.
Both the cause and cure of MS are currently unknown but we exist to fund, support and promote research nationally and globally.