Annual Report 2017

While the EU institutions are defining their added value to national policies (and citizens), at EFA we held the same reflection process with our member associations and in 2017 reviewed our strategy until 2020. Our members need EFA to represent people with allergy, asthma and COPD at European level, to help them share best practice and connect, run European projects to develop comparable patient-centred data for advocacy and assessment, and to run activities that build capacity and strengthen those members with limited resources and pressing needs, to help them serve more patients in their countries.

Together with other health groups, we have evaluated our impact, and the impact of EU action on health to respond to the five scenarios proposed by the European Commission for the future of the European Union. The scenarios prioritise growth and industrial development, neglecting health as if they were not interlinked. Yet, prosperity cannot happen without health, as people with allergy, asthma and COPD know only too well, and health needs to be integrated in every EU policy from medicines to environment, tobacco to chemicals, from food to digital technologies, all of them impacting patients’ health and wellbeing right now and for the future. Through the #EU4Health campaign, we ask the European Commission to re-assess its power to put health high in the political agenda for the next 5 years. Health matters to people and patients, and I know it first-hand from my children with severe asthma and life-threatening food allergy.

Our vision for a Europe where all patients with allergy, asthma and COPD access care, live in healthy environments and participate has underpinned our work programme in 2017. In our emblematic project #COPDMove we focused on 10 European COPD patients who improve their condition and lives through exercise of their own choice. The project was coupled with a video with a policy message on COPD and a training tutorial for other patients. #COPDMove patients bring a smile into my face and I hope yours too! We launched the biggest ever survey on quality of life with severe atopic eczema in 9 countries from all geographical regions in Europe to understand and raise awareness on their experience and challenges. Our capacity building programme delivered four training sessions this year. One in France and then in January, with members in Belgium and Austria, and the open Health Technology Assessment (HTA) training for EFA Patients in Brussels.

The European Parliament Interest Group on Allergy and Asthma launched its’ first Call to Action, a project with our partner EAACI. We partnered in the CURE, new H2020 project launched with a promise of curative approach to asthma, while the MyAirCoach ‘coach’ for asthma achieved the testing phase. We did not forget prevention, and promoted indoor air quality considerations into draft EU legislation on the Energy Performance of Buildings directive.

On the regulatory side, EFA patient experts were involved in up to 20 scientific advice or meetings at the European Medicines Agency, demonstrating that our comments are invaluable to ensure that policies that matter are adopted. Volunteer patients and patient representatives like myself, participate in complicated processes with difficult structures and roles, such as stakeholder advisory groups, expert panels, and public consultations to ensure that patient needs are included in policies before they are adopted.

Thank you to our members and volunteer patients for sharing our joint vision, and our key partners acknowledged in this report for believing in it.  Our sustainable funding partners and DG Research and Innovation make the work possible.

Even if a cliché, I dare say; alone we are good but together we are a STRONG and inspiring community, united because patients deserve more! THANK YOU!