EFA has been busy this month writing for the new EPF blog, attending the last meeting of the HealthVent project, travelling to the Gastein Health Policy Forum, participating in two meetings on indoor air quality, attending a meeting on severe asthma and more.  EFA blog on EPF website EFA has written an entry for the European Patients’ Forum’s (EPF) new blog, a recently developed forum that provides patient organisation perspective on specific policy and project areas, and allows EPF members to communicate and link to their work. EFA’s entry is on the EFA Allergy Awareness project. It mentions the EFA book on respiratory allergy and explains that allergy awareness in Europe is still low, leading certain cases to remain undiagnosed. The EFA blog entry outlines EFA’s Call to Action on respiratory allergy and encourages EPF blog readers to sign up and support it. EFA at final HealthVent consortium meeting On the 8th and 9th of October, the final consortium meeting of the HealthVent project was held in Copenhagen. EFA was represented by EU Policy and Project Officer Roberta Savli and by Vice-President Christine Rolland. The project, which aims to develop health-based ventilation guidelines to protect against health problems caused by poor indoor air quality in places like offices, schools and homes, is funded under the second EU public health programme, and is due to come to an end at the beginning of 2013. During the meeting, final details on the drafting of the guidelines and dissemination strategy were discussed. EFA presented the draft dissemination plan and plans for the public event to announce the HealthVent guidelines. EFA at the European Health Policy Forum Gastein On the 3rd to the 6th of October the 15th European Health Forum Gastein was held inAustria. EFA was represented by Roberta Savli. This year’s theme was ‘Health in an Age of Austerity’, and it highlighted the difficulties and opportunities for European health policy in a period of financial crisis. The forum is an annual health policy event, held in the Gastein Valley in Austria, that gathers major stakeholders and policy-makers in the field of EU health for discussion, interaction and contribution. See our EU policy news. EFA at ventilation/indoor air-quality conference in Copenhagen On the 10th of October Roberta Savli participated in the 33rd AIVC and 2nd TightVent conference “Optimising Ventilative Cooling and Airtightness for [Nearly] Zero-Energy Buildings, IAQ and Comfort”, jointly organised by the Air Infiltration and Ventilation Centre (AIVC) and TightVent Europe. One of the aims of the conference, which was held in Copenhagen, was to present and foster new research and development in the area of ventilation. Of particular interest to EFA was the conference session on the link between indoor air quality and citizens’ health. Programme Yearly meeting of the EU Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Experts Group On the 22nd of October 2012, the European Commission’s DG SANCO (Health and Consumers) held the yearly meeting of the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Experts Group in Luxembourg. EFA was represented by Roberta Savli. During the meeting, updates on the projects dealing with IAQ funded by the EU’s health and research programmes were provided, as well as updates on related EU policies. In particular, the timeline of the ongoing EU reflection process on chronic diseases (being led by the European Commission and EU Member State governments to identify issues, gaps and suggestions for action to improve current policies on chronic diseases) and the content of the upcoming revision of the EU air legislation were discussed. Programme MedTech Forum in Brussels and patient views on new Medical Devices proposal Susanna Palkonen spoke on behalf of the European Patients’ Forum (EPF) at the MedTech Forum on the 11th of October in Brussels, to gave a foretaste of EPF’s position on the Commission’s new Medical Devices proposal, which aims to make medical devices produced and used in Europe ‘safer, more effective and innovative’. The MedTech Forum is the largest health and medical technology industry conference in Europe. In her presentation Susanna highlighted EPF’s belief that future regulation should aim to achieve a high level of patient safety and quality of care, as well as ensure greater transparency and increased information to patients. More information EFA attends first Severe Asthma Forum in Sweden EFA president Breda Flood and Board member Lina Buzermaniene, both members of the EFA Severe Asthma Working Group, attended the first EAACI International Severe Asthma Forum (ISAF 2012) in Gothenburg, Sweden, form the 11th to 13th of October. The forum aimed to respond to the need for a more rational approach to the treatment of severe asthma, as more than 75% of asthma patient care costs are attributed to severe cases. The point was made that standard treatment (which consists of inhaled corticosteroids and long-acting beta agonists) is not effective enough in the case of many patients with severe asthma, and participants sought to reach consensus on a definition of the term. Severe asthma in young children, particularly those with virus-driven asthma, is often poorly managed. Professor Jan Lötvall stressed the need for new management strategies for the condition and the need to recognise asthma as a heterogeneous disease. The only way to understand what is driving severe asthma is to correctly identify the different disease mechanisms involved, he said. Press release  Presentation abstracts  Programme EFA attends seminar on healthy and active aging and the role of ICT On the 16th of October EFA attended a dialogue entitled ‘Active and healthy ageing –with ICT?’ organised by the European Policy Centre (EPC) in Brussels. The seminar considered the role technology can play in helping to increase the healthy and active life years of Europeans going forward. All participants agreed that ICT has the potential to play an increased and even central role in the health of the aging European population, but that Europe remains hesitant to embrace it. This is due to fears about cost, implications and its concrete added value. Patient perspective was provided by Nicola Bedlington of the European Patients Forum (EPF), who said that genuine patient involvement in the development of ICT solutions is the key to fostering uptake. More information EFA at EMA workshops The European Medicines Agency (EMA) held two workshops this month at which EFA was present. The first was on ‘pharmacogenomics: from science to clinical care’ and the other on the development of new antibacterial medicines. EFA was represented by our President Breda Flood.

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The EFA Team