Background & Goals


The goals of the Bone and Joint Decade are central to raising recognition of the importance of musculoskeletal conditions at global, regional and national levels by:

  • raising awareness of the burden of musculoskeletal conditions
  • developing sustainable networks
  • increasing knowledge of the suffering and costs of  musculoskeletal conditions
  • empowering people to prioritise their own care
  • improving access to cost-effective prevention and treatment
  • increasing research into musculoskeletal disorders, prevention and treatment
  • providing access to supportive information


During the late 1990’s a group of healthcare professionals shared the view that the significant impact from bone and joint disorders on society, the healthcare system and the individual, needed to be addressed on an international level with particular focus on the use of resources. An inaugural Consensus Meeting was held in Lund, Sweden in April 1998 which culminated in a proposal to form the Bone and Joint Decade to be led by an International Steering Committee. A Consensus document and plan for continued work were also drawn up, then in January 13, 2000, the Bone and Joint Decade was formally launched at the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

The launch came on the heels of the November 30, 1999 endorsement of the BJD by the United Nations. UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan said, “There are effective ways to prevent and treat these disabling disorders, but we must act now. Joint diseases, back complaints, osteoporosis and limb trauma resulting from accidents have an enormous impact on individuals and societies, and on healthcare services and economies.”

From the outset, the goal of the Bone and Joint Decade was to improve the health- related quality of life for people with musculoskeletal disorders throughout the world by raising awareness and promoting positive actions to combat the suffering and costs to society associated with musculoskeletal disorders.

Recognising that no one single organisation alone could accomplish the desired benefits for the patient or their families, the BJD set out to become a multi- disciplinary, global organisation capable of implementing and promoting initiatives in all parts of the world.