14/10/2016 News UEMO , Policy , Top News UEMO 2326 Views

On 16th September, UEMO President Aldo Lupo met representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) in Luxembourg. From the Commission’s side, the meeting involved Mr John F. Ryan, who is currently the Director of DG SANTE, as well as the policy officers responsible for the EU Alcohol Strategy, health determinants and chronic diseases, as well as antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and vaccination. These were also the focus topics for discussions in the meeting.

In the summer of 2015, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) resigned en masse from the European Alcohol and Health Forum as a sign of protest against a lack of a current EU Alcohol Strategy. The European Commission is now trying to modify the governance rules of the Forum, to adopt the WHO targets and to better evaluate the commitment of stakeholders. The reaction of NGOs to this action is as yet unknown.

Antimicrobial resistance is a steadily growing problem across Europe. According to the European Commission, it is important to involve family physicians in informing the public about AMR, since information is better perceived when it comes from a professional who is knowledgeable, competent and can be trusted.

Vaccination and its effects must also be better explained to the public, since in many countries a part of the population is still against vaccination.

On chronic diseases, the European Commission prefers a holistic approach rather than focusing on targeting specific diseases. Prevention is a key approach to eliminating chronic diseases, but the national health budget for prevention in many countries is extremely low. DG SANTE will work on gathering and sharing best practices among Member States.

Several DG’s of the European Commission are currently working to address the health care challenges faced by refugees and migrants. A common approach on these issues is yet to be defined.

After the meeting, the European Commission will send UEMO more information on the discussed topics. UEMO will then choose the ones where it can provide the most added value and appoint competent experts to work on the issues. This will be discussed in the UEMO meeting in October.

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