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    Putting you at the centre of all decisions affecting your health

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    30% of the European population lives with allergies, asthma and COPD

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    Because breathing is taken for granted, we work for better recognition of chronic respiratory diseases

Photo ASI Traveller Programme 170x114By Aisling Doherty, Health Promotion Officer with the Asthma Society of Ireland and Course Facilitator for the Asthma Education Programme in Disadvantaged Communities

In 2013 the Asthma Society of Ireland developed and piloted an asthma education programme for disadvantaged communities. An external evaluation on the pilot strongly recommended wider implementation. This programme has been shown to be an effective and relatively low cost means of building capacity around asthma health promotion in disadvantaged communities. The training empowers participants to disseminate key learnings about asthma management and inhaler technique to members of their community. The feedback on the programme has been particularly positive from participants and coordinators of the communities, with reported improvement in individuals own self-management of asthma.  It also shows the impact of this learning spreading throughout the community.

EMA logoBy By Inga Zalnerausine and Dominique Hamerlijnck

This November Inga Zalnerausine and Dominique Hamerlijnck attended the EMA patient and consumer training, as representatives of EFA. There were about 40 representatives at the training, from approximately 24 patient and consumer organisations. It was an intensive day, as well as a very interesting one.   

EMA organised this meeting to help prepare participants for their role as a patient or consumer representative in EMA meetings. The day helped us to understand the different aspects of what EMA does and gave us insight into how we, as patient and consumer representatives, can prepare for meetings and increase our effectiveness.  

20151207 Photo Blog Michael WilkenBy Michael Wilken, COPD Advocate

This October was an interesting month and one which brought with it the opportunity for me to engage in a number of COPD activities, raising awareness of this chronic condition and sharing the patient perspective.

Representing EFA I took part in the 2nd Global Patient Leader Summit in Paris, I presented at the ERS Congress in Amsterdam, and also contributed to a publication in Genomes Medicine, covering an event from the ERS Congress last year. 

So October was a busy month, but a fruitful one with many opportunities to continue to advocate for all those living with COPD and to raise awareness of what is often an overlooked condition.

MyAirCoach Vertical CMYKBy Laura Bond, member of the Advisory Patient Forum for the MyAirCoach Project

I’m just a regular person with a family, a job and hopes for the future and I dream of the day that asthma will not influence my daily activities. The myAirCoach project can help me achieve that. myAirCoach has the potential to transform my life and that of the 30 million people living in Europe with asthma like me.  

The input of patients like me to projects like myAirCoach can make a big difference to how the findings of the project are used and adopted by the patient community.

Breda Flood photo Oct 2015By Breda Flood,  former EFA President and Asthma Society of Ireland Board Member, and Irish asthma patient.

The air we breathe is something we take for granted, but its quality is something that right now we have the opportunity to take far reaching action on. On 28th October the European Parliament Committee on Environment (ENVI) will vote on the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), which sets the maximum air pollution levels within the EU for the next 15 years. This is a crucial piece of legislation that could save thousands of lives and protect people living with allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Voting for this legislation doesn’t just make sense on a health level, but also on an economic level. Sounds like a good idea right?

Lina BuzermanieneBy Lina Bužermanienė, EFA representative at the European Medicines Agency

When five years ago the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations (EFA) started to cooperate with the European Medicines Agency (EMA), we could not imagine how a regulatory body could serve the patient community to improve the use and service of drug therapies and contribute to medicines development.  

Have you ever wondered who decides on the safety of the medicine you need to take? It is EMA! For already 20 years the agency is working to evaluate human and veterinary medicines use in Europe. How does it work? The procedure is really complex but generally speaking, if a pharmaceutical company wishes to sell a new medicine, EMA assesses whether this medicine is safe and effective enough for use and publishes a recommendation. Based on that, the European Commission authorises the medicine to be sold in all EU member states. However, EMA‘s job is not over with that: after a medicine is authorised, the agency continues to monitor it to ensure it remains safe to use.

EFA Communications Officer Isabel Proaño OK blogBy Isabel Proaño Gómez (EFA Communications Manager) and Roberta Savli (EFA EU Senior Policy Advisor) 

Today the European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has voted on the draft report of Mrs Julie Girling (ECR, UK) on the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NECD), a piece of legislation that sets maximum air pollution levels within the European Union for the next 15 years. Patients and the health community do care about air pollution even it this has been long time considered as a simple environmental issue. The reality is that air pollution alone kills 10 times more people than road accidents in the EU, it affects 100% of the European population and is responsible for a wide range of harmful effects to our health. Given than more air enters the body and the blood than any other substance, citizens, and especially patients, we have the right to breathe healthy air and to have warranties that the air we breathe is not harming our health.

Artur Badyda PolandBy Artur Badyda is Chair of EFA Environmental Determinants Working Group

Important decisions usually involve powerful actors, and economic interests. Next week, the EU Environmental Ministers will decide about one of the most important legislations since the new Parliament and Commission are in place: the revision of air pollution limits in Europe or the National Emission Ceilings Directive (NEC) by its official name. The NEC is not only crucial for the future thresholds that countries will need to respect when adding up their emissions but it will also define our possibility to clean up the air, enjoy being outdoors and experience less health and lung health problems due to air pollution.

Roberta SavliBy Roberta Savli is EFA EU Senior Policy Advisor

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great honour to represent EFA at the biggest international conference on tobacco control. Supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the 16th edition of the World Conference on Tobacco or Health (WCTOH) brought together more than 3,000 delegates from all around the world advocating for a planet free from the diseases caused by tobacco.

Among our network of European patients living with allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there are passionate people that have been active in the field of tobacco control for ages or even decades. I think that their experience and their continuous efforts to fight tobacco and advocate for stricter policies are admirable, but in Europe we are still falling behind in our goal to protect people, and especially the most vulnerable groups, from the risks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke.