BRUSSELS, October 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Today, members of the European parliament, healthcare professionals and patients affected by lung, heart, liver and kidney conditions, are meeting for the very first time to discuss the main barriers to and potential solutions for improving organ donation and transplantation. The meeting is led by the European Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA Europe) and endorsed by more than 90 international and national professional and patient groups, with the aim to agree a comprehensive policy framework to support local countries in ensuring their organ transplant programmes reach their full potential.
The number of people waiting for an organ transplant in Europe is now more than 80,000 and a staggering 16 people die every day, on average, while waiting for a transplant. Organ transplantation is often the last hope available to children and adults of all ages affected by a wide variety of conditions that impair the way their vital organs function.
"There is no single challenge to overcome in order to meet the growing demand for organ transplants across Europe," explains Pisana Ferrari, CEO of PHA Europe and recipient of a lung transplant in 2002. "The problems related to the availability of organs are highly complex and sensitive, from hospital capacity and logistical issues to individuals' cultural and religious beliefs. What we hope to achieve from today's discussions are some more tangible next steps to improve the situation with policymakers and influential stakeholders."
As part of the campaign, and to coincide with this meeting, a number of self-filmed patient stories are being shown in the EU parliament, including an airline pilot from Austria, whose life-saving kidney transplant enabled him to go back to flying after five difficult years on dialysis. Their stories offer just a glimpse of how the lives of those affected by debilitating illness are revolutionised by a donor organ.
Notes to editors
About the Call to Action campaign to improve organ donation and transplantation across the EU
Organ transplantation is vital for the treatment and quality of life of patients of all ages living with a wide variety of conditions and currently benefits about 28,000 patients in the European Union yearly. However, the demand for organs far exceeds the number of available organs in all EU member states and this demand is increasing faster than organ donation rates.
To address this, on European Organ Donation Day, 10 October 2015, PHA Europe issued a Call to Action in cooperation with other patient associations, urging the EU and national level policy makers to ensure better awareness of the importance of and better access to organ donation and transplant. The Call to Action is available to read at http://www.phaeurope.org.
About PHA Europe
PHA Europe is the umbrella organization for national associations of patients living with pulmonary hypertension (PH) in Europe, currently representing 39 patient groups from 33 countries.
PH is the broad, inclusive name for a group of several chronic diseases that affect the lungs and the heart. In PH, the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs narrow or tighten, leading to shortness of breath and placing strain on the heart, which can ultimately lead to heart failure.
- Council of Europe. European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation (EODD). Available at: https://www.edqm.eu/en/events/european-day-organ-donation-eodd.
- ACCORD (Achieving comprehensive coordination in organ donation) background paper. Available at: http://www.accord-ja.eu/background.
- PHA Europe. Call to Action to improve organ donation and transplantation across the EU. Available at: http://www.phaeurope.org/wp-content/uploads/PHA-Europe-CtA-final-15.3.2016.pdf.
- PHA Europe. About PH. Available at: http://www.phaeurope.org/dissease-information/.
SOURCE Patient organisation - PHA Europe