The EFA Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Project is devoted to raising awareness for COPD both among the public and amongst policymakers to make it a greater political priority in Europe. The project was officially launched on 30 June 2010 at the European Parliament with the presentation of the EFA Book on COPD in Europe: Sharing and Caring and the presentation of its Call to Action on COPD . The event, hosted by Member of European Parliament (MEP) Catherine Stihler, aimed to shed light on the impact of COPD on European societies and to unite medical, political and patient communities to adopt a coordinated and comprehensive EU-wide strategy on COPD.
To continue the momentum, EFA planned two workshops at the European Parliament for the COPD Project in 2011. A year after the launch event, EFA hosted the 1st COPD Workshop at the European Parliament to follow-up on the EFA Call to Action on COPD. EFA invited leading specialists, public health experts and national representatives to the event, hosted by MEP Seán Kelly, to focus discussion on prevention and diagnosis of COPD. Several months later, MEPs Seán Kelly and Karin Kadenbach generously agreed to host the 2nd COPD Workshop and EFA invited previously participating organisations to return to the European Parliament to discuss COPD care and research needs.
EFA’s first workshop at the European Parliament including top experts from medicine, patient perspective and policy makers focused on the prevention and diagnosis of COPD and identified three main actions to guarantee early detection of COPD, based on best practices in MSs:
People who suffer from COPD do not usually go to see a specialist or primary care physician as they believe they have a mere smoker’s cough or just flu. Instead, a timely detection of the disease could improve the quality of life of patients and their families and reduce the economic burden of COPD. An example of best-practice is the case of Denmark. The Danish Health Board recommended screening for COPD on the basis of a study that had demonstrated that, with 10% of General Practitioners (GPs) participating and 3,095 people screened, 35% was diagnosed as suffering from COPD and, among these, 80% with a mild to moderate condition of the disease. It was estimated that 180 million EUR of annual healthcare costs were saved with this early detection system.
In 2012 EFA has dedicated its efforts to advocating on behalf of COPD patients at the European Parliament for an own-initiative report focusing on COPD in the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) committee. Although a difficult task, EFA is committed to placing COPD at the center of attention within the ENVI committee as soon as possible so as to further underscore its costly burden upon European societies. The EFA members with specialisations on COPD have contributed to this effort through the COPD working group, where participants are defining minimum standards for COPD patients in Europe and continuing to update EFA on the recent trends and new concerns for European COPD patients.
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