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Among the 22,000 delegates that assisted to the latest European Respiratory Society Congress (ERS) that took place from 6 to 10 September in Munich, 28 European and national patients’ organisations participated, represented by 44 individuals, many of them were patient representatives from the EFA network. As in past editions, the ERS proved to be a perfect occasion to share patients’ views with other international organisations, healthcare professionals and practitioners, scientists and industry. EFA had a stand at the World Village together with other patients’ organisations where we presented our latest books and met with many interested about our activities.  

Presenting discriminatory practices for patients needing oxygen when travelling

Our main activity was the presentation of the “Enabling air travel with Oxygen in Europe” poster to raise awareness among scientists about ongoing airlines’ discriminatory practices against patients requiring oxygen. EFA’s research among European airlines has shown that far too often respiratory diseases not only degrade patients’ physical condition but also affect their social lives. EFA Project and Fundraising Manager, Antje Fink-Wagner, presented EFA’s results during the COPD session showing that those practices are putting at stake mobility rights for those COPD and lung cancer patients needing oxygen while travelling. EFA findings were a surprise to many within the audience that shown an interest to disseminate these discriminatory patients to change them.

Photo: Antje Fink-Wagner presenting EFA's research "Enabling air travel with Oxygen in Europe.

02. EFA Patients at ERS Congress

First alignment meeting with other European level respiratory patient groups

EFA aims at joining forces with other European level respiratory patients groups to reinforce the collaboration and patients’ voice at European level on cross-cutting issues, such tobacco and air pollution, and capacity building. In this sense, EFA approached Lung Cancer Europe (LuCE), Cystic Fybrosis Europe (CF Europe) and Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) to share plans and find upcoming issues that could motivate joint-actions. Although PHA could not attend the meeting, both LuCE and CT demonstrated an interest to partner with EFA in certain capacity building and advocacy initiatives that are of interest to all patients with lung diseases.

Photo: From left to right, Mogens Ekelund (LuCE), Hilde De Keyser (CT Europe), Isabel Saraiva (EFA Board Member), Breda Flood (EFA President), Susanna Palkonen (EFA Director).

02. Alignment meeting with LuCE and PHA

Global COPD Movement discussed

EFA Board Member Isabel Saraiva joined the meeting organized by the US COPD Foundation to discuss the status and plans for global COPD movement and a summit to take it forward. EFA Board will discuss the outcomes of the meeting in their next meeting, as will EFA COPD working group. We will keep you posted.    

Smoking cessation: a patients’ perspective

EFA was very glad to see Alejandro Gallego, a member of the Spanish National Federation for Respiratory Diseases (FENAER), presenting the Patient’s testimony (in Smoking cessation strategies) symposium, addressed to scientists and physicians his experience as an asthma and allergy patient and smoker. During his intervention, Alejandro explained how he finds the current policies of tobacco warnings too aggressive and encouraged the audience to promote among asthma patients other supportive ways for quitting smoking like yoga and sports, as a way to reduce the stress and anxiety that smokers face when quitting.

Photo: Alejandro Gallego presenting at the tobacco smoking symposium.

02. FENAER presentaion at ERS

Abstract writing session

Organised by the European Lung Foundation (ELF), the Abstract writing workshop served to reinforce EFA’s successful experience in abstract writing and awarded posters by scientists. EFA Communication Officer Isabel Proaño joined other patients’ organisations to increase our capacity to produce meaningful research for patients and present them in an appealing way to scientists.

Photo: Among the participants, representatives from PHA, CT, or the Austrian Lung Union.

02. ELF Abstract writing workshop 

Tags: Category: News,Report
Country: Europe,International
Disease area: Asthma, COPD