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On May 16th EFA Isabel Proaño participated in the official launch of the European Chronic Disease Alliance manifesto, called “Europe’s health deserves the EU’s attention: Investing in chronic disease prevention and management”.

The need for more prevention and better access to care is key ask from all patients representing the four groups of chronic diseases, cardiovascular, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases such as allergy, asthma and COPD.

Initiated by several MEPs and ECDA, the manifesto calls on the European Commission to recognise health as an objective in its own right in its 2019-2024 strategy, with specific targets on chronic diseases; and to allocate the necessary human and financial resources and scale up related investment to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During the launch event, researchers and economists built the case with empirical data on how chronic disease is affecting Europeans. They explained how taxation of cheap alcohol has helped Scotland decrease mortality due to alcohol consumption, or the recommendations from the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), latest recommendations to decrease obesity with “healthy food labelling”, the activity mobility options in urban areas or new nutritional guidelines to reduce the stress on environmental production of food. 

The Commission representative from DG Sante, Mr Seychell, welcomed the manifesto and exposed the Commission turn towards investment in analysing and cascading best practices. He also highlighted the Commission efforts to squeeze existing financial instruments to deliver more healthcare outcomes at national level.

The Commission representative from DG Environment, Mr Wakenhut, provided many examples on the impact of pollution on chronic diseases, including the 43% of COPD patietns whose disease is directly linked to exposure to dirty air. He insisted that air pollution needs to be tackled from local to national level and that patient associations have a crucial role to play on that, but that to make it happen we all need a courageous transition management, because the energy transition requires strong market decisions.

The manifesto is supported by: Ms Karin Kadenbach MEP, Ms Kateřina Konečná MEP, Mr Alojz Peterle MEP, Ms Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Ms Daciana Sârbu MEP, the European Chronic Disease Alliance (ECDA), the European Association Working for Carers (Eurocarers); and the MEPs Against Cancer (MAC) Group.

The full manifesto is available here.