ECDA Letter – call for NCDs prevalence reduction in the EU and mobilising investment in prevention

In the context of the Global Week for Action on NCDs (14-21 September), ECDA encouraged EU policymakers to focus efforts on NCD prevalence reduction, mobilise investment in prevention and control, and implement necessary measures to effectively address NCDs in the EU.

Chronic non-communicable diseases have been a major health challenge for decades across Europe. No EU country is spared from the impact they have on citizens’ health, national healthcare systems, societies and economies, as further shown by the COVID-19 pandemic. The prevalence of NCDs continues to grow, fuelled by under-investment in prevention and control.

It is high time to take adequate action to reverse this trend. The EU NCDs initiative “Healthier Together” and the efforts driven at EU level thanks to the Expert Group on Public Health are welcome. They represent significant steps to achieve this goal. Yet, much remains to be done to effectively address NCDs in the EU. Aiming to reduce mortality from NCDs is not enough. Targets on reduced mortality are on track to be achieved in the EU, but people are living in a declining health condition.

ECDA encourages EU leaders to:

  • Mobilise resources for NCD prevention, notably by convening a High-Level Forum on Sustainable NCDs prevention in the EU by 2025.
  • Initiate a process to establish a holistic NCDs strategy for the EU, complemented by disease-specific plans where necessary, with clear targets for NCDs prevalence reduction in the EU by 2040 for all age groups (with intermediate targets for 2030).
  • Define a strategic and long-term vision for the EU as a whole, that does not leave behind any NCD nor EU country, addressing inequities and the specific needs of more vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly (often multi-morbid).
  • Commit to act and allocate funds to improve NCD prevention and care in the EU in the next years, for the benefit of the millions of citizens living with one or more chronic diseases and their families.
  • Address persisting data gaps in NCDs, which undermine effective responses and result in a misevaluation of the prevalence of certain types of NCDs and their burden. This is critical to improve disease knowledge, assess the real impact of the diseases and the cost of inaction, inform prevention and management plans; and anticipate any future challenges.
  • Set up an EU Ambassador for NCDs and an official EU NCDs Awareness Day (for instance, taking place during the Global Week) to stimulate greater knowledge-sharing and action.

Read the full letter here