On World No Tobacco Day 2024, EFA Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament member from Spain, Idoia Morán dives into the issues around youth smoking. Together with young allergy and asthma patients, EFA is calling on the EU to fight tobacco and protect lung health, especially among children.

As young patient advocates, we have always believed that patients have a unique viewpoint that holds the key to transforming healthcare for the better.Embracing patient voices in decision-making is not only a matter of equity, but also a path towards creating a more compassionate and effective healthcare ecosystem.

Clean air is a necessity for our health and the well-being of our planet. As the European Union (EU) revises its air quality standards and policies, it is crucial to consider the needs, concerns and skills of young people who will bear the brunt of today's pollution.

In June 2023, the European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament participated in EYE 2023, organised in Strasbourg, France. The event presented a unique opportunity to showcase issues that concern young allergy and asthma patients. Our concept for the event “Let’s Rebuild the Healthcare Systems!” aimed to put focus on the challenges and promises of digitalisation for European healthcare systems. 

In September, we welcomed the next generation of patient advocates to Brussels to take part in the EFA Young Leadership Training. Over two days, participants from the European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament and from EFA member organisations enjoyed workshops and tours to deepen their understanding of the EU institutions and policymaking and how to influence them as patient advocates.

The European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament is a platform for young allergy and asthma patients aged 16-35 to connect and build their skills as patient advocates. In 2021, The Youth Parliament made their mark on various policy consultations including the WHO Europe Future Generations Survey and on the Conference on the Future of Europe, shedding light on the experiences of young allergy and asthma patients as they navigate the world around them, and to provide recommendations in health policy.

Last year, the European Commission announced that 2022 would be the European Year of Youth. This means that the next twelve months will focus on coordinating activities to help young people engage with the EU and to influence policy initiatives to centre young people’s needs. These activities will be realised with Member States, the European Parliament, regional and local authorities, youth organisations and individual young people involved. The European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament will be following the policy initiatives and activities for the year so that young patients with allergy and asthma are heard and listened to.

The European Allergy and Asthma Youth Parliament, which brings together young asthma and allergy patients, as well as young medical professionals from all over Europe, launched a promotional video to showcase their work and achievements.

Early this year, WHO Europe established the high-level Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development, an independent and interdisciplinary group of experts led by ex-Italy Prime Minister Mario Monti. The Commission’s goals were to review and rethink policy priorities in Europe around health while drawing on lessons learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated health inequalities across Europe, including for those living with allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To understand how to address this and redefine policy priorities to reduce inequalities, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe has formed a Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development led by experts and leaders in health.

EFA held a Young Patient’s Ambassadors training as part of our Capacity Building Programme. This training was designed for young patient advocates to deepen their knowledge of the European Union, and to harness skills in public speaking to advocate for their unique needs as young people living with allergy and asthma.