The European Commission adopts a new health strategy – Healthier Together

Jun 22, 2022

The European Commission today presented a new initiative to reduce non communicable diseases (NCDs) across the EU, Healthier Together

NCDs represent 80% of the disease burden in the Member States. Complementing the already existing Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan, the Commission is addressing the main NCDs in a newly ambitious and systematic approach.

During the high-level event, in the presence of Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, the Commission has presented the initiative – a guidance and implementation toolkit – covering five key areas:

  1. Cardiovascular diseases
  2. Diabetes
  3. Chronic respiratory diseases
  4. Mental health and neurological disorders
  5. Health determinants

The toolkit was designed to help EU countries reduce the burden of NCDs and improve the citizens’ health by supporting action of the Member States and stakeholders. It identifies effective policies and best/promising practices selected by Member States and stakeholders. It also maps the legal and financial tools that can be used to implement those actions.

The EU NCD Initiative is also innovative as a process: the document is being co-created with the Member States with input from stakeholders, and ample consultation of Commission services, the WHO, the OECD and the European Investment Bank.

The Healthier Together Initiative will support actions during 2022-2027, with a view of helping Member States reach the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 targets and the WHO 2025 targets on NCDs. This plan provides a platform to promote greater action by the Member States including using the larger amounts of EU funds included in the current long term EU budget for health to help finance new initiatives and programmes. Health has risen up the EU agenda due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Healthier Together should take the level of ambition for progress the EU has shown in developing its “Beating Cancer” plan to the biggest causes of death across Europe, which is CVD. Our role is to strengthen Healthier Together and add concrete actions that will make for a more effective strategy” stated Magda Daccord, Chief Executive of FH Europe.

The European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH), of which FH Europe is a Partner, has recently called for the strategy to focus on cardiovascular health rather than disease with far greater efforts on detection and treatment measures that are preventative.  A contribution to such an approach would include prevention measures that effectively address inherited risk factors like FH, HoFH screening and elevated Lp(a) testing.

FH Europe will be working with the Member States though dedicated multidisciplinary stakeholders roundtables to include the recommendations from its Technical Meeting under the Slovenian EU Presidency last year in their response to the Commission Healthier Together plan. This would see:

  1. Every European country having a familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) screening, diagnosis, and care program focused on childhood identification and treatment.
  2. These programmes should use genetic, childhood, and opportunistic methods to identify those affected.
  3. Government budgets should support FH education, care, and screening as well as utilizing EU4Health funds.
  4. Further research should support registries to document care and identify best strategies to implement screening and personalized care..

The recommendations related to FH and how barriers to their implementation can be overcome will be reviewed at a meeting in September under the auspices of the Czech EU Presidency. The recommendations from this event will include a “Prague Memorandum” on actions that are now needed. These should then be taken by the Czech EU Presidency as part of their work coordinating the Member States response to Healthier Together.

For more contact Magda Daccord, FH Europe Chief Executive:

FH Europe is registered as a charity; Charity number 1170731, registered in England and Wales.

FH Europe is registered as a charity; Charity number 1170731, registered in England and Wales.

FH Europe is supported by an educational grant from Amgen Limited, Sanofi, Regeneron, Akcea Therapeutics Inc. and Amryt
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