GA²LEN at Cyprus EU Presidency high level Health Meeting
“Healthy Ageing across the Lifecycle”

This high level meeting in Cyprus was held at the ‘FILOXENIA’ Conference Centre in Lefkosia (Nicosia) 05. – 06. September 2012. There was a special focus on the prevention of non-communicable diseases, as well as on health promotion from early childhood, as a prerequisite and integral part of a healthy ageing process across the lifecycle, bearing in mind that 2012 is the European Year of Active and Healthy Ageing. GA²LEN Secretary General, Prof. Torsten Zuberbier gave a presentation entitled “Network in allergy – A surveillance network to improve active and healthy ageing”. The priorities of the Ministry of Health are health from early childhood, as a prerequisite and integral part of a healthy ageing process. The need for being proactive with the ageing population and present economic crisis being a burden on health systems, and furthermore a need for implementing effective disease prevention and health promotion programs across the lifecycle.

Cypriot MEP Ioannis Kasoulides speaks of support at the European Parliament for GA²LEN Sentinel Network

Support for the creation of a Pan-European network to combat allergies and asthma with the assistance of the EU, was expressed by the Cypriot MEP Ioannis Kasoulides, with a speech at an event organized on Wednesday in Brussels under the auspices/aegis of MEP Christofer Fjellner (EPP, Sweden) and MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) in collaboration with the Network of Excellence, GA²LEN.

As mentioned at the event, chronic non-communicable diseases are increasing across Europe and are the largest cause of avoidable deaths. 36 of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008 where/occurred due to such diseases and chronic respiratory diseases are one of them. 40% of Europeans suffer from some type of allergy and this percentage is expected to reach 50% in 2015.

Unfortunately, it was noted, 90% of patients do not follow appropriate treatment and more generally the issue is treated poorly at the political level by the governments of the EU Member States.

European Parliament Lunch debate

The European Parliament’s support for initiatives that assist in improving the health, safety and quality of life of European citizens is given,” stated I. Kasoulides early in his intervention, while he complemented, commenting on the above statistics, that “the basic and medical research for the prevention and treatment of allergies is crucial not only because it will improve the quality of life of patients, but also because it would eliminate huge economic losses suffered by pension funds and the public and private sector in a Pan-European level due to the delayed treatment and the frequent and long sick leaves of these patients.”

The Cypriot Vice-Chair of The EPP Group even mentioned the alarming rise in allergy cases in the EU, suggesting as one of the causes, the rising influence of climate change on the sector of health (for example, the subsequent migration of pollen causes new and long-standing allergies).

The European Parliament acknowledges the role of environment in health and has been committed to support the inclusion of Health in All Policies,” said Mr. Kasoulides.

The Cypriot MEP and his by standing colleagues expressed their support to the efforts of the Network GA²LEN, which is the largest international network of universities, medical centers and individual researchers for research in allergies and asthma.

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