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13 August 2020
Asthma , COPD, Allergy, Food Allergy, Other Diseases

As the European voice of the 200 million of people living with asthma, allergy and COPD, EFA has participated in the open consultation organised by the WHO Regional Office for Europe to gather stakeholder input on the WHO European Programme of Work (EPW) 2020-2025.

The draft document reflects the ways in which WHO can support the 54 Member States in the European region to face current and future health challenges, such as the Covid-19 public health crisis; it also outlines the contribution of the Regional Office for Europe to the global WHO vision. The draft EPW sets three core priorities:

  • Move towards universal health coverageby designing people-centred services, improving access to medicines and supplies and ensuring affordable and high-quality care
  • Protect against health emergencies – by investing in preparedness and capacity to respond to large-scale health crises, and enabling lesson-learning from the region’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Promote health and well-being – by implementing of programmes and policies that result in livable and healthy environments, promote safer lifestyles and ensure safer care for patients

Importance of WHO Regional Office

Regarding Universal Health Coverage (UHC), EFA has emphasized the importance of a Regional Office that works towards better access to the whole spectrum of health services, and the provision of quality, patient-centered care, while fighting inequalities. We consider that to for the EPW to succeed there is a need for a multi-layered engagement with patient involvement at all the decision-making steps.

Protection against health emergencies

The protection against health emergencies has a central role in our contribution to the EPW, especially in light of the regions’ experience addressing the Covid-19 pandemic. We urge the Regional Office to use all available means to ensure that a comprehensive and patient-centered preparedness framework is developed on the basis of new capacities and coordination principles at the national level.

Further, we encourage governments to review their health plans and investments on disease prevention, putting patient education and public information at the core of their health policies, and increasing attention to respiratory health prevention, management and care.

Promoting health and well-being

Promoting health and well-being for EFA means effective prevention policies in a wide range of issues within the scope of the Regional Office’s activities, including indoor and outdoor environments, food safety, tobacco, employment and consumer products.

In this regard, we call the Regional Office to actively engage in the generation of evidence to support regional and national policymaking. Additionally, patient empowerment should be a key objective pursued through the expansion of eHealth, availability of information, and better self-management in chronic non-communicable diseases.

Finally, as official stakeholders within the WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors, EFA highlighted the added value of working closely with non-state actors to identify gaps, enable policies, and support implementation at the EU and national level.

You can access the full response here.