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29 November 2023
Europe
INFORM, - Patient Evidence

On October 24-26, EFA participated in the 73th meeting of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, that took place in Astana, Kazakhstan. It was the 73rd edition of the annual high-level meeting that brings together representatives from 53 Member States, international agencies and institutions, civil society, observers from other regions, as well as other entities in the area of public health and beyond. As an accredited stakeholder to WHO/Europe since 2017, EFA participated in the committee represented by Senior Policy Advisor Panagiotis Chaslaridis.

This annual meeting served to discuss and adopt roadmaps, action plans and strategic assessment on timely health challenges that the European region faces, such as the shortages on the healthcare workforce, antimicrobial resistance, the preparedness and response efforts towards health emergencies, and refugee and migrant health. The committee was chaired by the WHO European Region Executive Director Dr. Hans Kluge, who opened the meeting with the presentation of the state of health in Europe.

Voicing the lung health community on lung health and during emergencies

As part of civil society role during the Regional Committee, EFA brought to thec attention of the Member States the call for improved respiratory care, and presented two joint written statement calling for lung health and the centrality of lung care in health emergencies. More concretely, in coordination with the European Respiratory Society (ERS), EFA led and submitted two joint written statements to the committee:

  • A written statement on lung health urging for necessary prevention-oriented measures to protect lung health, including improving indoor air quality; addressing climate change-related hazards, such as ambient air pollution, heatwaves, storms, pollen, floods, and wildfires; and tackling the tobacco epidemic. Moreover, we called on WHO Europe Member States for a comprehensive approach to lung health to be enshrined in national lung health plans, based on standardised diagnostics, personalised information on prevention of risks, investment in respiratory self-management, and promotion of lung health awareness.
  • A written statement on health emergencies calling for a future regional strategy and action plan on health emergency preparedness, response, and resilience that fully integrates lung health and builds synergies with the lung health community. Surveillance and early detection of emergencies, risk assessment, health workforce training, community education and addressing co-morbidities are only some of the areas where collaboration with the lung health community could bring huge benefits for public health. Apart from submitting this statement in written, EFA’s representative delivered this statement orally in the Plenary.

For both statements, EFA had the valuable support of our sister organisation European Network for Smoking Prevention and Control (ENSP), while the the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) supported the statement on lung health. In addition, EFA co-signed two joint statements led by other European-level non-state actors:

#KeepBreathing at WHO Europe!

Given the high level profile of the WHORC73, EFA raised awareness about lung health through the #KeepBreathing campaign. The joint campaign unites patients and healthcare professionals calling for improved prevention, care, research, and innovation for lung and respiratory diseases.

EFA’s Panagiotis Chaslaridis presented the campaign to key decision-makers including WHO/Europe Executive Director Dr Hans Kluge, Director for Country Health Policies & Systems Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, and former EU Health and Food Safety Commission Vytenis Andriukaitis, who showed their support to the initiative standing for lung health in Europe.

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Discover the WHO Regional Meeting for Europe meeting programme.

More information on EFA’s role as an Observer to WHO Europe.