Joint Letter to the Council of the European Union to Call for an Integrated Approach to Public Health

28 April 2021

Organisations from across the health spectrum call on the EU Council to extend the mandate of the EU agency to other areas of public health. This comes as a response to the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and an attempt to improve public health in Europe in the future by enhancing multidisciplinary collaboration.

In a letter published on Tuesday, a group of organisations representing patients, healthcare professionals and medical societies, industry, public institutes and broader health advocacy groups call on the Council to consider the expansion of the mandate of the ECDC to other areas of public health that are linked to the current mission of the Centre, notably to cover the interconnections between communicable and non-communicable diseases. The letter was issued ahead of the Council Working Party on pharmaceuticals and medical devices which took place Tuesday morning, and which discussed the Commission’s proposal to strengthen the Agency.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted how interconnected disease areas are and how dismantling silos in healthcare leads to better results.

If Europe is to focus on greater strategic autonomy and be a geopolitical force that remains the healthiest region in the world – yet burdened by large health inequalities, it needs an excellent Centre for preventing and controlling diseases, a more effective ECDC that is all-inclusive and that can collect and present information that is decisive for national health authorities, policymakers as well as healthcare professionals and the broader medical and scientific community.

To truly safeguard the health of Europeans, there is a need for an integrated approach to health challenges and threats.

The potential of increasing ECDC’s scope to other areas of public health was highlighted in the 2019 independent evaluation of the Centre. The European Parliament further asked in a resolution of July 2020 that ECDC be empowered to tackle the gaps in chronic disease epidemiology.

The ongoing revision of the ECDC mandate is a unique opportunity to enact change. It is time to break siloes, both across medical disciplines and with regards to EU vs national efforts, in order to increase the sustainability and efficiency of EU-level activities while protecting public health in Europe.

Read the joint letter here.

IDF Europe signed the letter as a member of the European Chronic Disease Alliance.