International Coeliac Day

Did you know that today (16 May 2019)  is International Coeliac Day?

In the UK Coeliac Awareness Week ran from 9-15 May 2019 and aimed to raise awareness about Coeliac Disease. It was sponsored by Coeliac UK, an organisation that provides support for people who suffer from this disease.

In the US the entire month of May is designated as Coeliac Awareness Month and the attempt to raise awareness recurs every year (you guessed it, in the month of May) for the disease, which afflicts 1 in a 100 people (in Europe), is supported by the National Federation for Coeliac Awareness.

In Australia, a ‘Treat gluten seriously campaign’ was held from 13-20 March 2019, the goal of which was to highlight the importance of adhering to a strict gluten-free diet when one suffers from coeliac disease and to encourage establishments involved in food preparation to #treatglutenseriously.

In Germany, Coeliac Awareness week lasts from 11 to 19 May and many events are taking place throughout the country to raise awareness.

Here in Switzerland, there is Coeliac Awareness and Coeliac organisations to inform patients but campaigning to the general public can be improved. I was hoping to report on campaigns running in Switzerland on the occasion of today’s international Coeliac Awareness Day, but I have not seen or heard anything encouraging, such as the awareness campaign that took place in Australia where Coeliac Australia promoted resources it had developed to help food businesses to prepare gluten-free options that were certifiably gluten-free.

On the occasion of International Coeliac Day ESPGHAN (European Society for Padiatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition) & AOECS (Association of European Coeliac Societies) have published an Infographic and a Manifesto which raises awareness of paediatric coeliac disease to enable earlier diagnosis for better health in coeliac patients. ESPGHAN and the AOECS are demanding that the EU and member states start implementing effective detection programmes so that children are diagnosed. Please take a look and share the information so that we can reach as many people as possible!

Only once the general public at large really understands the significance of strict adherence to a gluten-free diet should the coeliac awareness campaign rest. Join the coeliac awareness campaign in any way you can. Inform your friends and relatives and keep it up even once today is over, the week is over or the month is over. Every little contribution helps!