Archive for the ‘MEP Group’ Category

Chairs of the European Parliament health interest groups ask fellow MEPs to consider the link between air pollution and ill health ahead of crucial vote

The Chairs of the MEP Group for Kidney Health; the EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma; the MEP Heart Group; MEPs Against Cancer and Friends of the Liver Group have called their fellow MEPs to consider the importance of clean air for health ahead of the crucial vote on the National Emissions Ceiling (NEC) Directive.
The NEC Directive is going to be voted tomorrow (28th October) in plenary session of the European Parliament. This piece of legislation sets maximum binding air pollution levels within the European Union for the next 15 years. The results of this vote will have implications for the quality of the air that we all breathe, and for the health of generations of Europeans. 
 
The signatories of the communication invited the Parliament to explore the paper Particulates Matter: Why the EU must do more to tackle air pollution, developed by the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), in which EKHA is an active member.
Please see the text of the communication below
 
Dear Colleagues,
 
In anticipation of the imminent vote on the NEC Directive, we would like to bring to your attention the recent position paper of the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA)“Particulates Matter: why the EU must do more to tackle air pollution”.
 
The paper provides important information on the link between air pollution and ill health.
 
Recommendations include:
 
  • The European Commission should see action on EU air quality as an opportunity to be “big on big things”, 
  • The EU should adopt the WHO Air Quality Guideline values as Limit Values which for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometer (PM2.5) meaning the Limit Value should be reduced from 25 to 10 µg/m3, 
  • Clean air needs to be promoted and incentivised across all policy areas, in particular within the framework of a comprehensive EU strategy for the prevention and control of chronic disease, 
  • The EU must bring forward robust legislation tackling both emissions sources and ambient air concentrations to protect health, cut healthcare costs and save lives. 
  • EU Member States must fulfill their obligations and ensure compliance with EU legislation. 

We thank you in advance for the attention you will bring to this paper and to the calls made for clean air in Europe. 

 
Sincerely, 
 
Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP; Chair EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma 
 
Mairead Mc Guinness MEP; co-Chair MEP Heart Group 
 
Karin Kadenbach MEP; co-Chair MEP Heart Group & Chair of the MEP group for Kidney Health 
 
Alojz Peterle MEP; Chair MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Group 
 
Cristian-Silviu Buşoi MEP; co-Chair MEP Friends of the Liver Group
 
 
The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA) is a coalition of 11 European health organisations sharing the same interests in combating preventable chronic diseases through European policies that impact health. ECDA represents millions of chronic disease patients and over 200 000 health professionals. ECDA’s mission is to reverse the alarming rise in chronic diseases by providing leadership and policy recommendations based on contemporary evidence.
 
The EP Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma is a common effort by European allergy and asthma patients, health professionals and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) committed to fight against the most prevalent chronic diseases in Europe. The Interest Group is chaired by MEP Sirpa Pietikainen and co-chaired by MEP Nessa Childers. The Secretariat of the Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma is led by European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) in partnership with the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) and is working closely to voice the needs of people living with allergy and asthma in Europe.
 
The main objective of the MEP Heart Group is to promote measures that will help reduce the burden of Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) in the European Union and to raise awareness of the disease among target audiences through a series of dedicated activities. The MEP Heart Group is led by two Co-Chairs, Mairead McGuinness MEP and Karin Kadenbach MEP. The European Society of Cardiology and the European Heart Network provide support to the MEP Heart Group by running its secretariat.
 
The MEP Group for Kidney Health is the informal group of Members of the European Parliament committed to improve the policy response to the growing burden of kidney disease in Europe. The MEP Group has been running since 2008, acting as a successful debate forum in topics such as prevention of chronic kidney disease, access to transplantation, sustainability of healthcare systems and health inequalities. MEP Karin Kadenbach is the group’s chair. The European Kidney Health Alliance (EKHA) supports the group by running its secretariat. 
 
The MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) group is an informal group of  MEPs  at the European Parliament committed to actions against cancer. The MEPs Against Cancer work together in order to improve cancer prevention and control in Europe, in the belief that European cooperation adds value to member state actions. In order to address the challenges faced by the EU, MAC works together with the European Commission and Council and collaborate with relevant organisations to reduce cancer incidence by 15% by the year 2020.  Mr Alojz Peterle (EPP) is the Chair of the MAC group. The European CanCer Organisation (ECCO) support this group and one of its members, the Association of European Cancer Leagues (ECL), provides the MAC Secretariat.
 
The Friends of the Liver group in the European Parliament is a group of MEPs with an interest in liver disease and its underlying causes. The aim of the group is to raise awareness amongst their colleagues and the European Commission of liver disease and to identify and advocate for European Union policies that can help prevent it and improve treatment. The co-chairs are Romanian EPP member, Dr Cristian-Silviu Busoi and Dr Biljana Borzan, and S&D group member from Croatia.

MEP Group for Kidney Health event on Improving Prevention & Health literacy

Improving Prevention & Health Literacy
The Quest to reduce economic burden of chronic disease in the EU 

An event of the MEP Group for Kidney Health 
19th October 

 
On 19th October, EKHA, together with the MEP Group for Kidney Health held a meeting in the European Parliament to discuss how prevention and health literacy can help reduce economic burden of chronic disease in the EU. The event was hosted by MEP Karin Kadenbach (S&D, Austria), Chair of the MEP Group for Kidney Health. The focus of the discussion was set on the importance of chronic disease prevention for quality of life, as well as for national health budgets. Conclusions included the pressing need for improved prevention and health literacy amongst the general public and legal frameworks for industry commitments. 
 
Speakers included EKHA Chair Prof Raymond Vanholder, Tom Oostrom, Director of the Kidney Foundation (Netherlands) and Laura Webber, Director for Public Health Modelling at the UK Health Forum. 
 
Prevention is better than cure 
All speakers underlined the need for increased investment in prevention, as this would be more cost-effective than spending on treatment of established disease. Currently, less than 3% of national health spending is allocated to prevention whilst 97% of health care budgets go to treatment of disease. Prevention needs to be enhanced through education around lifestyles and dietary restrictions, which is where health literacy comes into play. In the case of CKD, more access to transplantation in the EU should be advocated, as it is cheaper than dialysis and results in an improved quality of life and health outcome for the patient.The European Commission is committed to helping reduce the burden of chronic disease, notably by funding research projects such as the Economics of Chronic Disease project, EConDA (link to news published in October on the EKHA website).
 
The key aim is to aid EU Member States to develop, select and implement more cost-effective policies to improve chronic disease prevention and impact upon populations with the highest rates of premature deaths from chronic diseases and reduce health inequalities. Therefore, a methodology for measuring cost-effectiveness of chronic disease intervention has been developed. A microsimulation model shows that small changes can have important effects on disease burden. Some tools are available for download to test the interventions (link to the downloadable tool). EKHA is a collaborating partner to the EConDA project. 
 
Prevention strategies can be straightforward – for instance main risk groups such as people who are obese, smokers, diabetics or people with hypertension or cardiovascular disease, are easy to target through their GPs and often, the same group of people have an increased risk of CKD. Therefore, early detection in those high risk groups is feasible and this is what should be advocated for. 
 
Positive example are being undertaken, such as in the Netherlands, where an Agreement for Improving Product Composition was signed between Dutch Health Minister Schippers & Industry (January 2014). The founding principle of this agreement is self-regulation of industry in reducing the excessive salt in processed food. Indeed, in the Netherlands, experts have concluded that consumers don’t notice the gradual phasing out of salt in processed food and their health will benefit from this move over time. 
 
During the event, everyone agreed that the EU should put this issue of preventive salt reduction on its agenda. The EU Commissioner for Health is an advocate of prevention, but more can be done. For MEP Kadenbach, voluntary commitment from industry to reduce salt is necessary, but not enough. In the end, the commitment should be legally binding. 
 
MEP Kadenbach also expressed her willingness for interaction between different MEP Groups such as the MEP Group for Kidney Health and the MEP Heart Group in order to address common risk factors to heart disease and kidney disease.