Cardiovascular disease is a ticking timebomb.
When our partners launched the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health in September 2021, we were driven by the commitment to share our expertise and raise awareness of the burden of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in Europe.
Cardiovascular diseases understood as a vast group of conditions all related to the heart and circulatory (vascular) system, including stroke, remains the biggest health challenge for Europe, with a high morbidity and mortality prevalence in the EU. COVID -19 has only exacerbated this scenario. There were reports of people no longer feeling safe to go to the hospital or even to their GP. Procedures and examinations were postponed or cancelled altogether. Importantly, the pandemic showed that patients with heart diseases such as heart failure were more severely affected and that cardiovascular events occur more frequently in the weeks after a severe COVID-19 infection.
The question is simple: how can we address these challenges and ensure better cardiovascular health for all people in Europe? Surprisingly, the answer can also be a rather simple one.
First, we believe that collaboration is key. As the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH), we bring together and represent not only tens of millions of patients, but also more than 300 000 healthcare professionals, hundreds of health industry companies, health insurers covering the treatment costs of more than 200 million people, and millions of people living with genetic CVD risk factors but who have not yet been diagnosed. The Alliance can truly speak for everyone, and that’s exactly what we intend to do.
Second, we believe in the power of having a policy plan to promote cardiovascular health and address the burden of the disease in a coordinated manner across the EU. This is what the event hosted by Friends of Europe was all about: presenting the Alliance’s Action Plan. A plan that aims to reduce premature and preventable deaths in Europe by a third by 2030, improve access to high-quality cardiovascular risk assessments for all, establish multidisciplinary treatment pathways, and pave the way to a better quality of life for all.
As EACH we know that now is the time to act. All evidence points in the same direction: the burden of cardiovascular disease for patients and their families, the population, health systems, and society in Europe is tremendous and will only increase. To win this battle we must channel enormous political will, leadership, expertise, and imagination to create a different landscape for cardiovascular health in Europe.
The success and impact of a European CVH Plan will depend not only on what is achieved in the next few years but on how it is achieved so that no one and no country is left behind. EACH calls on addressing societal barriers, underserved populations, discrimination on all grounds, and fundamental inequities that permeate health systems across Europe. At EACH, we know that the time to act is now.
WATCH THE DISCUSSION AT THE LAUNCH OF THE EACH CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH ACTION PLAN
The public event took place on 16 May 2022, featuring:
- Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety
- Stephan Achenbach, President of the European Society of Cardiology
- Brando Benifei, MEP, co-chair of the MEP Heart Group
- Juozas Olekas, Member of the European Parliament and former Lithuanian health minister
- Dr Héctor Bueno, Clinical cardiologist and researcher at Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre
- Joanne Fleming, Project Manager of YOUNG50 #Stay Healthy – Cardiovascular Risk Prevention
MESSAGE FROM THE MEP HEART GROUP