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Former EFA President speaks at COPD conference in Shanghai

The Second World Conference of COPD Patient Organisations was held in Shanghai on 6-7 of November. The conference was organised by the International COPD Coalition (ICC), a not-for-profit body composed of patient organisations from around the world working to improve the health and access to care of patients with COPD. Former EFA President Marianella Salapatas represented EFA at the conference.

Throughout the 2-day event – which generated significant media attention and gathered high-level government representatives including the Chinese Minister for health – topics included the role that governments and health ministries have to play in combating COPD, the future of COPD patient organisations, lessons in advocacy, collaboration between organisations and recent medical advances in COPD.

In a session entitled ‘COPD Patient group advocacy: global lessons’, Marianella described EFA’s experience of advocating for COPD patients at EU level. Her presentation, entitled ‘COPD in Europe – Past, Present, and Future’, mentioned several of the initiatives EFA has taken to raise public and political awareness of COPD, including the EFA book on COPD in Europe, the Call to Action on COPD and EU projects it has taken an active role in. She stressed that the most important role of patient organisations in advocacy is to ensure patients’ voices are heard.

Also released at the conference was a summary of the new ‘GOLD Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management and Prevention of COPD’. The document was adopted at the conference on November 7th, and GOLD, which is in charge of global COPD guidelines, indicated that the final version would be available soon on its website.

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