Purpose of the review: To highlight the current challenges in diagnosis and clinical care of pediatric rheumatic disease and barriers to research and education of pediatric rheumatologists worldwide.
Recent findings: Recent studies and reports demonstrate a paucity of studies on epidemiology, outcomes, and management guidelines from many regions of the world. There have been noteworthy efforts to bridge the gap in under resourced areas. An analysis of the global burden of rheumatic disease has demonstrated that while understudied, musculoskeletal diseases are prevalent and increasingly contribute to loss of years of healthy life. In juvenile idiopathic arthritis, two milestone publications in global pediatric rheumatology have recently been published. An international study evaluated the epidemiology, treatment, and outcomes of juvenile idiopathic arthritis and demonstrated global diversity in both clinical manifestations and outcomes. Notably, the first guidelines for managing pediatric rheumatic disease in a less resourced setting have been published for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. This document offers the first publication targeted to address challenges faced by pediatric rheumatology caregivers in low-resourced settings. These documents serve as exemplars for international collaboration in pediatric rheumatology and can be used as models for other pediatric rheumatic disease research. Other efforts are making progress in various arenas towards increasing access to care, education, and training in pediatric rheumatology.
Summary: The global burden of rheumatic disease in the pediatric population is poorly understood but unrecognized disease greatly impacts the overall morbidity and mortality in this population. More studies in lesser resourced regions are needed to prioritize access to pediatric rheumatology care and prioritize a further increase in research capacity and education moving forward.