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For many years the public health priorities have primarily been focusing on cancer, cardiovascular and diabetes. The European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA) in partnership with the European Academy for Neurology (EAN) launched earlier this year, the initiative One Neurology to raise awareness about neurological diseases and the burden these diseases have on patients, families and the community as well as make it a priority on the political agenda.
And very recently there was an important breakthrough as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the EU have decided to implement plans for Neurological disorders! These political decisions pave the way for opportunities to have concrete actions on national level to improve health care services to people suffering from HD and other neurological diseases.
On December 14 the DG Santè (EU Health Department) organized a webinar with the stakeholders from authorities, professional societies, and patient organisations about how to proceed. In the webinar the Commission emphasized that contribution and close collaboration between all stakeholders and EU member states will be a key factor. The Commission will also prioritize implementation to ensure that not “only” nice plans are made, but that the efforts result in concrete actions to really make a difference for patients.
–This gives us as patient organisation a great opportunity to influence a process where we share the goals of improving access and quality in the health care services offered to people affected with HD, says Astri Arnesen, President of European Huntington Association. – In the webinar December 14, many of the patient organizations called the priority plans the best Christmas gift ever, something that emphasize the opportunities. But it also implies that we must take action and contribute proactively. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it fuels motivation to have this tailwind. I am really optimistic and EHA will do everything we can to be proactive and work in tandem with our colleagues in the Neurological field, Arnesen concludes.