Speaking today following the debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on the Resolution, which he co-authored, on the UN high-level meeting on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, Liam Aylward MEP for Ireland East claimed that it is imperative that the European Commission puts a coordinated EU strategy on chronic diseases in place to address this growing problem.
 
“Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and respiratory disease are on the rise in Europe and with our aging population this situation is set to worsen, yet there is no coordinated EU strategy on chronic diseases to tackle the epidemic.”
 
In the Resolution, Liam Aylward paid particular attention to cardiovascular diseases.  Each year cardiovascular diseases cause nearly half of all deaths in Europe – over 4.3 million deaths. In Ireland alone over 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease.
 
Among the cardiovascular diseases, stroke is the most common cause of death. For survivors, the consequences can be devastating: two thirds of the strokes leave patients with severe mental or physical disabilities, yet to date the EU has taken no action to establish best practice among the Member States or to put together a coordinated approach to preventative measures.
 
According to the Ireland East MEP it is in coordinating and strengthening strategies on preventative measures where the EU can be most effective.
 
“It is my intention that this Resolution be used as the catalyst to move action on this forward for sufferers and care givers. The EU Strategy needs to focus on prevention measures – tackling the problem before it takes hold.    At present 97% of health expenses are spent on treatment but only 3% invested in prevention.”  
 
The Resolution has called for the EU to take the lead at the UN High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases in New York next week and stress the importance of coordinating and bolstering prevention strategies and treatment for chronic diseases, which can no longer be ignored.