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The European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) and the NCD Alliance publish the paper “Towards an EU-Strategic Framework for the Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases” concluding that a new EU strategic framework to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs) is needed to address chronic diseases, the 21st century’s foremost health threat.

With 70% of respondents to a recent EU Barometer survey wanting to see more EU action on health and with epidemic levels of NCDs undermining people’s well-being, healthcare systems, and Europe’s economic and social prosperity, preventing NCDs should be a main priority for the next European Commission.

The mandate 2019-2024 is an opportunity to act upon commitments made at the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs in September 2018 and follow on the EU Reflection Process on Chronic Diseases to deliver concrete solutions to respond to the main common risk factors. While progress is made on reducing premature mortality from NCDs, longer lives do not necessarily translate into healthy lives.

With stroke being such an important topic among other non-communicable diseases, SAFE and ESO recently organised a panel discussion in the Committee of Regions in Brussels, under the Patronage of The Romanian Presidency, exploring the role of policy in tackling stroke. During the panel discussion, patient representatives and clinical experts called on the EU Institutions to recognize the burden of stroke as its own incredibly important entity, rather than diluting it in the wider classification of cardiovascular diseases. Panelists representing patients and clinicians also called for the EU to facilitate discussions between its Member States on the implementation of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe. As a next step to this meeting, SAFE and ESO begun a follow-up with speakers and participants to move forward with the identified opportunities. The immediate action that came as a result of this panel discussion was SAFE’s participation in the CHRODIS+ Conference, held in Budapest, Hungary on 15 May 2019. At this important meeting, SAFE was represented by Grethe Lunde, SAFE Board Member and a stroke survivor from Norway. SAFE actively participated in discussions on topics such as patient involvement, multi-morbidity, integrated care and employment. 

Europeans spend between a quarter and a fifth of their lives in ill-health. 700 billion EUR is spent on treating NCDs in the EU each year – although many chronic diseases are to a considerable degree preventable. The paper proposes basic principles, priorities and actions for such an EU strategic framework, setting out a roadmap to make change happen. For more information, please contact: info@alliancechronicdiseases.org or epha@epha.org.