Archive for June, 2018

Boosting transplantation: a priority to lower the economic burden of renal care

EKHA welcomes the recent announcement of the health priorities of the upcoming Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU (starting January 2019) in so far as they reflect an intention from the future Presidency to boost organ donation in Europe: a document* freshly released from the Presidency outlines under the overall aim of “guaranteeing access to health care for all EU citizens” the willingness to focus on “obtaining consensus on the exchange of organs and tissues between countries”.

The low number of organ and tissue donors in the world and in the EU “requires improved cooperation for organ exchanges for transplants,” taking into account compatibility and the urgency of cases, the document says. This echoes EKHA’s positioning and activities in its recently launched “Gift of Life” campaign.

Additional items on the Romanian EU Council Presidency’s priority list include:

  • Ensuring patients’ access to medicines
  • Reaching the necessary vaccination coverage targets
  • Integrated cancer control
  • Identification of the most effective interventions to prevent noncommunicable diseases
  • Agreement on a system to evaluate the performance of health systems
  • Quality management in health care
  • Ensuring patient safety.

For more information on the Romanian presidency:

*Access the document obtained by Politico


EuDonOrgan: Six European Countries will Organize Awareness Raising events on Organ Donation

As part of the EuDonOrgan project 6 EU countries were selected to host awareness raising events to foster an organ donation culture nationally and in neighboring countries. EuDonORgan is a 36-month multi-country EU funded project to boost organ donation. Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal and Sweden are selected to organise activities between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019.

The countries were selected on basis of the following criteria:

  • Good balance between Nordic/Southern, Western/Eastern European countries.
  • Participation in different European Organ Exchange Organisations.
  • Covering a spread of different donation rates *
  • Commitment and active support from the national Competent Authority.

EuDonOrgan rests on two key pillars awareness-raising and training. In parallel to awareness activities, a “Train the trainer” course gathering 101 participants from 28 European countries is being implemented under the training pillar.

Training is provided not only to healthcare professionals, (transplant donor coordinators/key donation persons, personnel from emergency departments, intensive care units, postoperative and stroke wards) but also to other relevant stakeholders able to promote and encourage effective donation (patient support groups, communication officers of national/regional authorities and of healthcare establishments, key opinion leaders, journalists in the field of health), etc.

Through webinars, eLearning and onsite training sessions, participants to the “Train the trainer” course gain knowledge on:

  • main aspects of living and deceased donation (incl. tissues and cells donation)
  • quality control procedures
  • family approach
  • communication strategies
  • training and education activities

Attendants, which completed an online course before a face-to-face training programme, held in Barcelona (Spain) in September 2017 are currently involved in the promotion of training programmes at national, regional and local level and share their activities via a Facebook group (see #eudonorgan).

The EuDonOrgan management team is finalising a WebApp – a video training tool – for Organ Donation and Transplantation Competent Authorities to use locally.

For more information on EuDonOrgan see:

For more information on other initiatives from the European Commission on EU wide projects to boost organ donation and transplantation, read EKHA news:

*Sweden: 19,7 donors pmp.

Belgium: 30,8 donors pmp.

Poland: 14 donors pmp.

Hungary:18,6 donor pmp.

Greece: 4,7 donors pmp.

Portugal: 32,7 donors pmp.

Raising Awareness on the need for increased organ donation and transplantation: EKHA’s Gift of Life campaign

With 1 in 10 adults with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in Europe and 1 in 3 adults at increased risk of developing CKD, high costs for hospital based haemodialysis (up to 80,000€ per patient per year) and the negative impact of dialysis on patients’ quality of life, it becomes urgent to favour transplantation in the EU.

Interviewed during the recent ERA-EDTA congress held in Copenhagen on 25-27 May, ERA-EDTA President, Prof Carmine Zoccali identified economic sustainability of renal care as ’the main challenge’ and greater promotion of more cost-effective renal replacement therapies such as transplantation and home dialysis as “an absolute priority”, echoing EKHA’s positioning and activities as part of its “Gift of Life” campaign.

Launched at its Kidney Forum in the European Parliament in Brussels end April, EKHA’s Gift of Life campaign aims to raise awareness on the need for:

  • a coordinated approach at EU level as regards kidney donation
  • appropriate legal, structural and cultural frameworks in EU member states to boost donation rates and hence reduce the numbers of deaths resulting from kidney failure while waiting for a transplant.

The “Gift of life” campaign aims to provide:

  • A platform to channel EKHA’s key messages on transplantation to the European Commission, the European Parliament and other relevant EU stakeholders in the field
  • A framework for EU Member States to develop national awareness raising activities on transplantation in a coordinated manner.

As part of the “Gift Of Life” campaign, EKHA has produced a “Call to Action”, urging for:

  • Education programmes for healthcare professionals, patients and the general public to boost living donor transplantation at EU and national levels.
  • Establishment of appropriate legal and structural frameworks to make EU Member States’ transplantation programmes successful
  • Opting-out systems for deceased organ donation in EU member states
  • A coordinated approach towards kidney transplantation at EU level

Read the full Call to Action and EKHA’s recommendations on how to boost organ donation and transplantation in the EU and Member States here.

Feel free to use materials developed by EKHA to support your own actions and especially the newly designed EKHA Gift Of Life Infographic encapsulating key facts and figures, messages and goals in a read and print friendly format.

Learn more about EKHA’s Gift of Life campaign.

European Commission Publishes Horizon Europe

On June 7th, the European Commission officially released Horizon Europe, the next EU Research Framework Programme outlining research funding and structure between 2021 and 2027. Calling it the most ambitious and innovation programme yet, the European Commission presented a €100 billion budget for research, up from €77 billion for the current program, with the actual proposal for Horizon Europe alone being in fact €94.1 billion (in inflation adjusted prices) for the seven year budget period.

The proposal, now moving to the Council and the European Parliament sparked some criticism from some NGOs*, regretting that the Commission didn’t include a requirement that all those getting EU money to research and innovate on treatments, prevention or diagnosis of diseases commit to make the result of their work accessible and affordable.

On the contrary, the Commission’s proposal is generally well seen by industry, welcoming that Health will be an important part of the programme, with its own designated research “cluster” that is expected to have a budget of over €7 billion**. Having said that, the pharma lobby EFPIA would also favor an increase in the budget. The European People’s Party group in the Parliament is said to be pushing for a budget that’s more like €120 billion, and intends to work to get closer to that figure during negotiations.

The debate will now focus on how much EU research money should be put into health, and in what kind of activities, with which types of participants. Like its predecessor, “Horizon Europe” is structured around three pillars: “Open Science”, “Global Challenges” and “Open Innovation” with the Health cluster forming part of Pillar 2, covering impact-focused collaborative Research and Innovation.

It is predicted that research clusters will fund at least six big topics:

  • Lack of effective health promotion and disease prevention
  • Rise of non-communicable diseases
  • Persistence of health inequalities amongst and within countries affecting disproportionally people that are disadvantaged or in vulnerable stages of life
  • Increasing costs of healthcare systems
  • Mainstreaming personalized medicine approaches
  • Digitalization in health and care

An innovation from Horizon 2020 is the concept of “missions” outlined in the FP9 Framework Programme as “large-scale assignments given to a portfolio of R&I actions to achieve an ambitious but realistic goal within a set timeframe. Missions will require “sustained cross sectorial and interdisciplinary effort and a deep involvement of stakeholders from beyond the R&I community, including policy makers, end-users and civil society.” Speaking about Horizon Europe, EC Research Commissioner Carlos Moedas said that while the targets won’t be defined before 2019, there are “so many missions that we can think of, especially in the sector of health.”. Commissioner Moedas is said to hope the missions will have a total budget between €5 billion and €10 billion saying “I don’t know if we will have five missions or 10 missions or 12 missions, but each mission will have around €1 billion”***.

Read more news on Horizon 2020 here.

For more information on Horizon 2020, see here.

*Including including Access to Medicines Ireland, the European Public Health Alliance, DSW and Doctors without Borders.

**According to draft figures reported by Science|Business.

*** Source: Politico 8 June 2018