ECCA and EDMA advance the EU health literacy debate

As part of the 2011 European Cervical Cancer Week, EDMA, the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association and the ECCA, the European Cervical Cancer Association jointly organised the "Better Health Literacy for Better Health in Europe" dinner debate.

Brussels 26 January 2011 - ECCA and EDMA made a timely contribution to the debate on Health Literacy at a lively dinner debate held in the Members Salon of the European Parliament on the evening of 25 January. Hosted by Irish MEP Marian Harkin, the event gathered numerous stakeholders from patient organisations, medical associations, the corporate world and the NGO community to debate how health literacy can be improved in the EU.

Mrs. Harkin opened the debate by highlighting the fact that poor health literacy in Europe is a significant barrier to both EU and national goals for improving the health of Europeans. She also noted that poor health literacy has serious economic consequences for Europe, because it is associated with increased medical interventions that run up unnecessary costs for the European healthcare systems.

Dr Philip Davies of the European Cervical Cancer Association focused on the fact that health literacy is associated with increased participation in disease prevention programmes such as cervical cancer screening.

Unfortunately, low health literacy accompanies social deprivation so it is therefore mainly lower socioeconomic groups across Europe that fail to take advantage of these programmes, and consequently bear an inequitable burden of disease.

Dr Isabel de la Mata, Principal Public Health Advisor at DG SANCO of the European Commission, presented an overview of the efforts and the future steps the EU executive will make to foster health literacy and therefore have healthier citizens.

Dr Jürgen Schulze, President of EDMA, noted that the IVD industry is very concerned about health literacy in Europe and very interested to make a positive contribution to the debate. Moreover, he pledged a closer collaboration between all the involved stakeholders to by-pass common prejudices and ultimately to achieve the objectives of having sustainable public finances and better empowered patients.

To this end, EDMA has delivered on a long standing commitment by launching Lab Tests Online ( a global, multilingual, peer-reviewed, patient-centred information portal on laboratory testing organised by the American Association for Clinical Chemistry and coordinated by EDMA in Europe.

About EDMA:

EDMA, the European Diagnostic Manufacturers Association, represents national associations and major companies engaged in the research, development, manufacture or distribution of In Vitro Diagnostic (IVD) tests in Europe.

Through its membership, EDMA represents in total more than 500 companies (or over 700 legal entities) across Europe. The mission of EDMA is to raise awareness of the importance, usefulness and added value that diagnostic information can provide to healthcare. For this purpose, EDMA cooperates with European institutions, patients groups, trade associations, health professionals and academia to support an appropriate regulatory system, to work towards a realistic economic environment for healthcare in Europe and to be an effective voice in globalisation.

About the ECCA:

The ECCA was established in November 2002 specifically to raise awareness of cervical cancer and the means by which it can be prevented. To achieve this goal, ECCA has brought together Europe's leading cancer societies, medical associations, cervical cancer researchers, clinicians and patient groups with 115 institutional members in 34 countries to form a Europe-wide network of expertise covering all aspects of cervical cancer prevention. This extensive network has then been complemented by ECCA's health communications experts and, working together, we have mounted a co-ordinated education and advocacy programme that now reaches almost every country in Europe. and


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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