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vol. 53

Letter to the Editor
Between volunteer and professional activities – a Swiss example of practice for health promotion in rheumatic diseases

Reumatologia 2015; 53, 2: 111–114
Online publish date: 2015/05/18
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JabRef, Mendeley
Papers, Reference Manager, RefWorks, Zotero


Knowledge Transfer Programme is a programme carried out as part of the European League Against Rheumatism (EULAR). It is aimed at exchanging experience between societies of patients with rheumatic diseases in Europe. As part of this project, in March 2014 representatives of the Polish Rheuma Federation “REF” [1] familiarized themselves with examples of good practice at Rheumaliga Schweiz (RLS) in Zurich, Bern and Lucerne (photo 1). Sources of information for this paper included reports from people involved in the Swiss League, materials on the Internet [2] and materials printed for the League as well as observation of activities for patients. The welfare of Swiss citizens when calculated per adult is the highest worldwide. The health expenditure is approximately 11% of GDP and is similar to that observed in Germany or France (in Poland it is 6.9%) [3]. The life expectancy for Swiss men is 80.5 years, for Swiss women 85.0 years (in Poland the values are 72.4 years and 80.9 years, respectively) [4].
As many as 34% of the Swiss are socially active (volunteer activity). In Poland material welfare increase is not associated with an increase of the social capital defined as: activities for the local community, participation in election, optional meetings, positive attitude to democracy, membership in organizations and functions [5]. Self-organization, collaboration, and volunteer activities provide real benefits, and this can be demonstrated by the achievements of Rheumaliga Schweiz (RLS), which was funded as a non-governmental organization in 1958 and included in the Standing Committee for Social Leagues of EULAR at that time.

Methods of work

The Swiss League is a network of independent organizations: 20 cantonal and 6 functional ones focused on patients with one disease: rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia, osteogenesis imperfecta, scleroderma. It is possible to visit websites of participating organizations from the RLS website.
The Main Board of the League includes 9 people elected for a 4-year period, including 3 physicians. The Board employs 24 office workers and it corresponds to 14 full-time positions.


There have been attempts to find such a model of action that would not generate any losses that might lead to organization failure in the long term, but at the same time to be perceived as a user-led organization, and this is...

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