EFA sounds the alarm for allergy patients
One core value of EPF is to strive for a patient-centred healthcare. The European Federation for Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients’ Associations (EFA) shares the same goal except that their perspective is focused on allergy, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Being member of EPF allows EFA to follow general topics for all patients despite their disease which also allows them to further apply it in their disease area. This is an insight into a disease-specific campaign for Allergy Awareness with Roberta Salvi.
Too often allergy is not considered a “real” disease, and this perspective is generally shared by both the policy-makers and the wider public. As a consequence, almost half of allergy patients never ask or receive a proper diagnosis. Without access to proper treatment and knowledge of their condition, patients may not even realise their higher risk to develop asthma. Such information needs to be available to the public: patients need to know how to make better-informed choices and improve the management of their disease.
To inform patients, EFA published the EFA Book on Respiratory Allergies: Raise Awareness, Relieve the Burden. It was the first step of our “Allergy Awareness” campaign to sound the alarm on the behalf of allergy patients. This book is the first of its kind in allergy as it contains the results from a survey where 18 EFA’s patients’ associations in 18 European countries answered and is translated into 14 other European languages. “By patients, for patients” this collection covers a range of topics from diagnosis, quality and accessibility of best practices on care and prevention across Europe with shortfalls and successes judged by the patients’ organisations.
Alongside this book we have launched a Call to Action to ask policy-makers to coordinate actions to increase the political recognition of respiratory allergies as a real and serious disease; promote national programmes on respiratory allergies; prioritise the management and control of respiratory allergies; promote training in allergy for healthcare professionals to improve accurate and early diagnosis; align healthcare and reimbursement policies, to support appropriate disease management; and improve indoor air quality.
You too can make a difference today by signing our Call to Action! Appropriate measures need to be taken to improve the quality of life of people with respiratory allergies!
Such project can be categorised into the broader EFA´s chronic diseases’ agenda. After having included our input into EPF formal position statement, we developed our own response. We believe that the reflection process on chronic diseases should open the door to an EU strategy that should include disease specific best practices and national programmes, such as the Finnish national allergy programme on which our Allergy Awareness campaign is building on. It is the first of its kind in Europe and could ultimately lead to significant outcomes that should not be underestimated by other countries or indeed should be shared with other disease areas.