Statement of support from European Commission,
DG SANTE

March 2019

 

Non-communicable diseases, including mental health, neurological diseases and the often-associated chronic pain, constitute a major public health challenge. Thousands of lives are unnecessarily lost due to the impact of diseases that are largely preventable. Chronic non-communicable diseases are also the biggest threat to the sustainability of our health systems.

The Commission recently introduced a new approach to non-communicable diseases by joining forces with the EU Member States to identify together innovative solutions to tackle and prevent these diseases. Our new “best practices portal” invites stakeholders to submit best practices for evaluation. The selected ones are then made available to national authorities and the broader public. This new approach is part of a larger strategy to help improve the overall health of the population, reduce inequalities between Member States and regions, as well as to improve the sustainability of the health systems. These shared, collective efforts put the EU and its Member States in a better position to reach the nine voluntary targets of the World Health Organisation by 2025, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3.

I encourage NGOs to contribute to improving health in the EU through the Commission’s Health policy platform, for example by increasing awareness of issues, by sharing information at their disposal and by jointly developing proposals for action.

The Steering Group on Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Management of Non-Communicable Diseases is also an important vehicle to help countries reach the health-related SDGs. The Steering Group provides advice and expertise to the Commission on developing and implementing activities in the field of health promotion, disease prevention and the management of non-communicable diseases. It also fosters exchanges of relevant experience, policies and practices between the Member States. Mental health is the focus area for exchange of best practices in 2019.

I congratulate the European Federation of Neurological Associations and its partners – the Pain Alliance Europe and the European Parliament Interest Group on Brain, Mind and Pain – on this timely, informative and comprehensive book. When all actors concerned with non-communicable diseases join forces, we can make a tangible difference in the lives of patients across Europe.

 

Anne Bucher

Director-General, European Commission’s Directorate General of Health and Food Safety

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