Archive for June, 2015

Chrodis Report on Health Promotion and Prevention in 14 Countries

Joint Action Chrodis Report “Health Promotion and Primary Prevention in 14 European countries: a comparative overview of key policies, approaches, gaps and needs” 

chrodis reportWhile much has been done in terms of health promotion and primary prevention of chronic diseases across Europe, there are still gaps and needs that require urgent attention. This is reflected in a new report that provides a comparative overview of key policies and approaches used to promote health and prevent chronic diseases across 14 European countries, which has been published by the Joint Action on Addressing Chronic Diseases and Healthy Ageing across the Life Cycle (JA-CHRODIS). 
The overview report shows that, while there are significant differences in health systems and structures across European countries, there are also similarities in terms of the gaps and needs identified in the area of health promotion and primary prevention. 
The outcomes of the report, which was coordinated by EuroHealthNet in collaboration with the German Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA) and on behalf of JA-CHRODIS, will be discussed by policy makers and stakeholders across Europe at the upcoming JA-CHRODIS Conference on Joining Forces in Health Promotion to Tackle the Burden of Chronic Diseases in Europe, that will take place later this year in Vilnius, Lithuania. 
The most frequently identified gaps and needs relate to capacities and capacity development, evaluation, monitoring and research. The 14 countries report comparatively low, stagnant, insufficient or falling proportions of national expenditures on health promotion.  On average, European countries spend 97% of health care budgets on treatment and only 3% on prevention, although health promotion and primary prevention measures provide value for money and increase the cost effectiveness of healthcare spending.
A recent WHO Europe report summarises the latest evidence outlining the short and long term returns of investments of interventions on e.g.  physical activity, mental health and healthy employment. Despite such evidence, European countries are still not addressing the “urgent need” as stated in the conclusions of the EU Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases, “to invest in prevention to help avoid paying for healthcare in the future.” 
Caroline Costongs, Managing Director of EuroHealthNet states that: “Despite persistently low levels of investment in health promotion and prevention, there is growing interest in the issue of how to remain healthy. As this report reveals, European countries have much to learn from each other, and can help one another strengthen their policies and measures, also in relevant areas like e-health and m-health.  It is, however, crucial to collectively explore the ethical dimension of health improvement, given the market interest in this area, to ensure that innovations are effective across the population and do not unintendedly widen health inequalities.” 
According to Ingrid Stegeman, Health Promotion Europe Manager at EuroHealthNet, “Policy makers pay lip service to the role that health promotion and primary prevention can play in reducing the burden of chronic diseases, lengthening healthy life years and increasing well-being.  Yet they are still not investing in this. This has to happen if they are really serious about reducing the burden of chronic diseases in Europe.” 



OECD Report: Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes: Policies for Better Health and Quality of Care

OECD Health Policy Studies, 17 June, 2015
Fewer people are dying from stroke and heart attacks than before, but rising levels of obesity and diabetes, particularly among younger people, are going to push mortality rates higher, according to a new OECD report. The report says that advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases have led to a 60 per cent drop in mortality rates over the past 50 years in the OECD. 
But cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in OECD countries and obesity and diabetes rates are rising which means more people will be at risk of CVD: approximately 85 million people have diabetes in OECD countries, representing around 7% of people aged 20-79 years old. That number is projected to reach 108 million by 2030, a 27% increase, and meaning a further 23 million patients with higher health care needs and greater risk of complications. Obesity rates are also rising in most countries, affecting one in five people in the OECD. The likelihood of dying from a stroke or heart attack varies widely: from less than 200 per 100,000 people in Japan, France, Korea and Israel each year to over 500 in Central and Eastern Europe countries, including Slovak Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Czech Republic. Many countries are still a long way from making the necessary reforms in their health systems to deliver the necessary quality of care needed to improve CVD outcomes. 
Among the report’s recommendations are that countries should: 
  • Do more to promote healthier lifestyles to reduce CVD mortality rates. Anti-smoking policies have been shown to be effective, as have initiatives to reduce salt consumption and combat obesity.
  • Ensure primary care is financially accessible to everyone and the gap between recommended care and care provided in practice is closed.
  • Improve accountability and transparency of primary care performance.
  • Establish a national framework to improve quality of acute care and set national standards for the measurement and continuous quality improvement of emergency services and care provided in hospitals to improve quality and reduce regional variations within countries. 
  • Ensure reforms involve every single aspect of the health system, from policies and prevention to primary care, emergency care, acute care and rehabilitation, as the complexity of treating CVD and diabetes means that the chain of care is only as strong as its weakest link.

Read the full report here


Kidney Function Linked to Cardiovascular Health

A new study published in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal has revealed that tests for kidney function can be equally effective at indicating a patient’s risk of heart disease as blood pressure or cholesterol tests. 
heartdiseaseResearchers used the albuminuria and eGFR test results from 24 previous studies of 637,315 patients with no history of cardiovascular disease. Albuminuria refers to the presence of the protein albumin in a patient’s urine. A high level of albumin is often an indicator of kidney disease. The eGFR test (estimated glomerular filtration rate) tracks kidney function by examining levels of creatine in the blood, and determines the amount of blood filtered by the kidneys each minute. As creatine is almost exclusively filtered out by the kidneys, creatine levels in the blood are a good indicator of kidney function. The researchers concluded that using the results of these two tests would help doctors to more accurately identify the risk of heart failure or heart attacks. 
According to the study, half of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease are killed by a cardiovascular condition before reaching their disease’s terminal phase. If the biological link between kidney disease and heart disease is not yet fully understood, it has been noticed that Kidney failure could lead to a fluid overload, which may in turn result in heart failure. Patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension and kidney failure have been recommended by current medical guidelines to undergo these two tests. 
Read the full EurActiv article here

EU Health Plan 2015: European Commission publishes Work Plan and Call for Proposals

On 9 June, the European Commission published the 2015 work plan for the 3rd Health Programme. With a budget of € 449.4 million, the 3rd EU Health Programme is the main European Commission instrument to implement the EU health strategy, The Programme is mainly implemented through the financing of three types of actions: projects, joint actions and operation grants. 
DH health andriukaitisThose actions should have a special European dimension, meaning that a minimum of various partners of different European Countries have to be involved in the project plan. The 3rd Health Programme has four overarching objectives: 
Promote health, prevent diseases and foster supportive environments for healthy lifestyles taking into account the ‘health in all policies’ principle;
Protect Union citizens from serious cross-border health threats;
Contribute to innovative, efficient and sustainable health systems Facilitate access to better and safer healthcare for Union citizens.
In this plan, there are two key actions which may be of interest to EKHA and its partners:
4.4.5. Study on the uptake and impact of the ‘EU Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation (2009-2015): Strengthened Cooperation between Member States’: 
This initiative seeks to provide information on the set-up of organ donation and transplantation in the EU Member States and more specifically on the level of implementation (uptake and impact) of the 10 priority actions of the Action Plan (Communication of the Commission stating that a final evaluation should be carried out) and map results achieved, at Member States and European level. The study should build upon results of the mid-term review carried out in 2012-13 (ACTOR study, Commission Staff Working Document on the mid-term review of the Action Plan).
It should also take into account recent and ongoing developments in the field of transplantation and assess the need for a follow-up Action Plan at EU level. The survey should include EEA and candidate countries (already captured in the ACTOR study). The study should be articulated in two main sections: (i) state of play at Member States’ level, including a general description of the transplantation activities in each of the countries considered and a detailed assessment of activities implemented and results achieved regarding the 10 priority actions of the Action Plan; (ii) state of play at European level, mapping activities implemented and results achieved at EU level along the 10 priority actions of the Action Plan and in the transplantation field, including results from EU-funded projects. Type of contract: procurement. 
4.1.4. Conceptual and structural work towards the development of a European approach on chronic diseases: 
The Commission intends to establish cooperative structures that support the development of an EU approach on chronic diseases. Thus, as follow-up to the ‘Reflection process’ and the ‘EU summit on chronic diseases’, the intention is to steer the response to chronic diseases at the EU level, actively react to the requests of Member States and stakeholders to step up work on chronic diseases and to underpin the Commission’s political determination at international level, building upon the UN political declaration on non-communicable diseases, the Council conclusions on chronic diseases and sustainable health systems, the Chronic diseases reflection process as well as at conclusions of the chronic disease summit. 
Technical assistance: This action will deal in particular with the development of concept and background materials and the provision of reports and information and the organisation of meetings. Work under this action will: (i) support cooperative structures at EU level to implement pilot activities to highlight the potential of simple and cost-effective interventions to address selected major chronic diseases. Such activities shall be transferable and applicable in EU Member States and have the potential to reduce the burden of chronic diseases at sub- European levels; (ii) furthermore support the development of reports and background material. This action will build upon the results of the Joint Action on Chronic Diseases and Active and Healthy Ageing across the life cycle.
 Click here.
EU HEalth plan

ACCORD Results 2015: Organ Donation in the European Union

2016-01-14 11_25_45-EKHA - European Kidney Health Alliance - ACCORD Results 2015_ Organ Donation in                  

“Improving Organ Donation throughout the European Union- ACCORD”

Early June in Madrid, a conference on the ACCORD Joint Action was held to disseminate the results of the project on increasing and improving organ donation in the EU, which has been co-financed by the EU Health Programme.
The project “Achieving Comprehensive Coordination in Organ Donation throughout the European Union- ACCORD”,is a Joint Action that runs from May 2012 to November 2015, involving 23 European countries, and coordinated by the Spanish National Transplant Organisation. ACCORD is supported by 10 collaborating partners, including the World Health Organisation and the Council of Europe.
ACCORD aims to narrow the inequalities in organ donation in Europe by:
-Enhancing the protection of living donors by improving information systems and through common standards;
-Promoting deceased organ donation by facilitating the cooperation between critical care professionals and donor transplant coordinators;
-Sharing practical knowledge, expertise and tools by implementing practical collaborations among countries – through a “twinnings” initiative.
Find out about the questionnaires and other documents here.