Archive for June, 2019

EKHA Monthly Newsletter

June 2019

EKHA Activities


The 6th Annual European Kidney Forum took place on Tuesday, 25 June in Brussels.

Gathering key stakeholders including policymakers from the European Commission, Member State representatives from competent authorities involved in transplantation, patients and healthcare professionals, this year’s Forum attracted 56 delegates who engaged in a fruitful discussion on the theme of Organ Donation and Transplantation in Europe, with a focus on ‘Are we meeting the needs of patients?’

Read more here

EKHA Management Committee and Associate Members Meetings

The EKHA Management Committee convened for its second meeting of the year on 25th June. This was followed by a welcome meeting for Associate Members. Raymond Vanholder explained the opportunities and advantages of EKHA’s transition to a legal entity and then gave the floor to national societies for presentations and discussion around efforts to promote organ donation and transplantation in their respective countries.

Find all presentations of the Associate Members Meeting here, including the latest European kidney transplantation figures presented by Mark Murphy.

Thematic Network update

With new Partners joining, the Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation has been expanding, thereby bringing together a variety of stakeholders in the field to advance good practices and address the challenges faced by the Member States. The feedback provided by the Thematic Network Partners is currently being reviewed and incorporated into the Joint Statement draft, to be shared with the Thematic Network Partners for their final comments and endorsement prior to the document’s submission to the Commission on 3 October 2019.


In connection with the first plenary session of the 9th European Parliament taking place on 2-4 July, here are some key insights into the new Parliament and the MEP Group for Kidney Health, which retains seven of its members including Co-Chair MEP Hilde Vautmans.

Read more here

EU Policy

Finnish Presidency – Priorities and Programme

Finland has announced the priorities and programme of its upcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union between 1 July 2019 and 31 December 2019. The programme places emphasis on a sustainable and socially inclusive Europe that promotes the well-being and prosperity of its citizens.

Finland will be the first presidency to integrate the new priorities of the Strategic Agenda 2019–2024 into the Council’s work.

Read more here

Upcoming Activities



16th International Congress of the Intestinal Rehabilitation and Transplant Association (CIRTA 2019), Paris

3-6 July, 2019

Horizon 2020 Health Partnering Day 2019, Brussels

4 July, 2019

Finnish Presidency of the European Council High-Level Forum on the Silver Economy, Helsinki

9-10 July, 2019

EU Patient Access Partnership (PACT) multi-stakeholder conference—”The future of health: Advancing the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda in Europe”, Brussels

11-12 July, 2019

EKHA Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation: Endorsement period of Joint Statement

September – November, 2019

46th European Society for Artificial Organs (ESAO) Congress, Germany

3-7 September, 2019

31st European Congress of Pathology, Nice

07-11 September, 2019

EKHA Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation: Webinar 2

10 September, 2019

First European Cell Therapy and Organ Regeneration Section (ECTORS) Meeting, Copenhagen

14-15 September, 2019

48th EDTNA/ERCA International Conference Prague, Czech Republic

14-17 September, 2019

ESOT Congress 2019, Copenhagen

15-18 September, 2019

H2020 Artificial Intelligence & Health, Oslo

16-17 September, 2019

69th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe and the election of new Regional Director, Copenhagen

16-19 September, 2019

The Finnish EU Presidency conference on the Economy of Wellbeing, Brussels

18-19 September, 2019

2nd Annual Meeting of the International Academy for Clinical Hematology (IACH), Paris

19-21 September, 2019

3rd Nephro Update Europe 2019, Prague

20-21 September, 2019

16th Congress of the Cell Transplant and Regenerative Medicine Society (CTRMS 2019), Greece

21-25 September, 2019

European Research and Innovation Days, Brussels

24 -26 September, 2019

EU Health Programme High Level Conference (DG Sante), Brussels

30 September, 2019

European Health Forum Gastein, Austria

2-4 October, 2019

EKHA Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation: Submission of final version of Joint Statement

3 October, 2019

International Society of Nephrology (ISN) Frontiers Meeting, Sweden

3-6 October, 2019

Eurotransplant Annual Meeting 2019, Netherlands

10-11 October, 2019

European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation

12 October, 2019

EKHA Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation: Presentation of the Joint Statement at the EU Health Policy Platform Meeting

17 October, 2019

18th Congress of the International Pediatric Nephrology Association, Venice

17-21 October, 2019

4th Business at OECD Forum on Health, Paris

30 October, 2019

Dutch Kidney Foundation Red Carpet

23 November, 2019

Closure of the 2019 Thematic Network Cycle, transformation into stakeholder network and lessons learned webinar with SANTE Units and the HPP team.

December (TBC)

European Kidney Forum 2019 “Organ Donation and Transplantation in Europe – Are We Meeting the Needs of Patients?”

On 25 June 2019, EKHA held its 6th Annual Kidney Forum in Brussels. As previous editions, the event gathered policymakers from the European Commission, national competent authorities, patient associations, medical professionals, and representatives from the private sector.

The event was opened with a video address by Mrs Hilde Vautmans, Chair of the MEP Group for Kidney Health, followed by a moving speech by Robert van der Wolk, a combined kidney pancreas transplantation patient.

A roundtable discussion ensued, moderated by Professor Wim van Biesen, featuring Stefaan Van der Spiegel from DG SANTE, Dr Elisabeth Coll from the Spanish National Transplantation Organization, Professor Uwe Heemann from Munich Technical University, European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT) Secretary Dr Gabriel C. Oniscu, Dr Stela Živčić Ćosić from University of Rijeka in Croatia, EKHA Chairman Professor Raymond Vanholder and transplant patient Robert van der Wolk. Topics included the role of registries and multi-national coordination structures, the mandate of the European Commission, patient and public empowerment, maximising the role of transplant coordinators, and improving living donation with Spain, Germany and Croatia presented as case studies.

Audience participation made for a lively debate which culminated in voting on priority actions to improve organ donation and transplantation in Europe. In the live poll, 94% of the Forum participants declared a need to launch a new Action Plan on Organ Donation and Transplantation following the last Action Plan of 2009-2015. Furthermore, the audience considered the five most important elements in increasing organ availability to be:

  • Increasing public awareness and trust,
  • Each member state having a dedicated strategy/action plan for organ donation and transplantation,
  • Appointing and maximising the role of transplant donor coordinators,
  • Promoting quality improvement programmes in hospitals, hence optimising deceased organ donation,
  • Training to improve knowledge and communications skills of healthcare professionals.

Key take-away messages and insights from the Forum will inform the Joint Statement of the EU Thematic Network on Organ Donation and Transplantation, a political declaration that aims to mobilise political support at multiple levels.

The summary report of the event is available here.

Access the event’s presentations and view the photo gallery.

Watch MEP Hilde Vautmans’ video message:


EKHA Insights: European Elections 2019

Seven members of the MEP Group for Kidney Health have been re-elected:

  • Hilde Vautmans (ALDE, BE),
  • Peter Liese (EPP, DE),
  • Christel Schaldemose (S&D, DK),
  • Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, FI),
  • Aldo Patriciello (EPP, IT),
  • Brando Benifei (S&D, IT),
  • Annie Schreijer-Pierik (EPP, NL)

Among the new MEPs, several emerge as potential champions in health on the basis of their professional background or strong commitment to public health issues. These are:

  • Geert Bourgeois (ECR, Belgium): Known for his interest in health issues, particularly cancer. Signed the MEPs Against Cancer 2019 Manifesto.
  • Petra de Sutter (Greens/EFA, Belgium): Professor of Gynaecology and Member of the Belgian Senate, has already tackled several health policy issues both at the national and European level. Declared interest in joining the committees for health and justice following her election. Supported a number of health initiatives including the European Patient’s Forum for patient empowerment and the EU for Disability Rights by the EU Disability Forum, as well as Alzheimer Europe’s campaign on dementia.
  • Kris Peeters (EPP, Belgium): As the Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumers in Belgium, made the headlines last January for wanting to introduce a “right to be forgotten” for people who have been cured of serious diseases like cancer. Also signed the MEPs Against Cancer 2019 manifesto.
  • Véronique Trillet-Lenoir (Renew Europe, France): Head of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Lyon Sud Hospital Center, and Secretary General of the National Cancer Council of France. Involved in cancer research and willing to work with medical societies and patient advocacy groups.
  • Katalin Cseh (Renew Europe, Hungary): Obstetrician, gynaecologist and health economist, has been serving as the head of her national party’s health working group. Recently elected as one of the Vice-Presidents of the Renew Europe Group.
  • Bartosz Arłukowicz (EPP, Poland): As a paediatrician, worked at one of Poland’s leading Children’s hemato-oncology and oncology clinics, and served as the Health Minister of Poland between 2011 and 2015.
  • Ewa Kopacz (EPP, Poland): General practitioner and paediatrician, former Minister of Health (2007-2011) and Prime Minister of Poland (2014-2015). Has been described as one of the leaders of the EU, and ranked as the world’s 40th most powerful woman in 2015.
  • Manuel Pizarro (S&D, Portugal): Doctor, specialist in internal medicine. Served as the Secretary of State for Health between 2008 and 2011. As a former member of the Parliamentary Health Committee in Portugal, he was directly involved in various pieces of legislation including the new legal framework for organ transplantation.
  • Sara Cerdas (S&D, Portugal): Degree in medicine and public health, with over six years of experience in health organizations working on health policy and planning. Declared health a priority on her agenda during her campaign and emphasised active ageing and quality of life.
  • Diana Riba i Giner (Greens/EFA, Spain): Signed several initiatives during her candidacy including the MEPs Against Cancer 2019 manifesto, the EU for Disability Rights Manifesto of the European Disability Forum, and Alzheimer Europe’s campaign on dementia; signalling her strong commitment to health issues.

The MEP Group for Kidney Health will be reaching out to these priority new MEPs in due course, in efforts to recruit them as the new champions of Kidney Health in the 9th European Parliament.