Welcome and Introduction by MEP Hosts,
MEP Group for Kidney Health
Hilde Vautmans, Belgium, MEP Group for Kidney Health
The 2018 European Kidney Forum, attended by members of the kidney community from across Europe, was hosted by the MEP Group for Kidney Health co-chairs Hilde Vautmans (Belgium) and Karin Kadenbach (Austria).
MEP Vautmans opened discussions by highlighting that there is still a high variation of access to kidney transplantation across EU Member States. One of the goals of the MEP Group for Kidney Health, she said, is to improve access to high-quality care for all EU citizens, with particular regard to transplantation.
“I believe that together we can address the barriers and probe incentives to promote the implementation and harmonisation of organ donation and transplantation policies across the EU. And I believe that we, as policy-makers at the very heart of the European Union, have a responsibility to raise awareness of the social burden of kidney disease in Europe and to pave the way for better alignment between Member States.”
MEP Vautmans also gave some personal reflection on the gift of life that is transplantation, with a story of a member of her own family.
Later in the programme, MEP Kadenbach expressed her support for the themes discussed at the Forum and the work of EKHA: “As members in the European Parliament and of the MEP Group for Kidney Health, we can stimulate further actions and provide more incentives to improve the availability and application of transplantation in our individual Member States. I believe that, according to our mandate to drive EU policies on health, with particular regard to organ donation and transplantation, with the final goal to save the life of patients, together we can promote options to expand donation and improve patient education and information on transplantation. In order to close the gap between Member States, it is essential to provide patients with comprehensive information on all aspects related to chronic kidney disease and their treatments choices.
“Our role is to stimulate the debate and consultations at national level and unleash the potential of the gift of life.”