Every year, the European Commission's Health Policy Platform hosts three thematic networks, led by stakeholders. The underlying idea of the platform is to ease communication between European Commission services and health stakeholders. The chosen networks have the ultimate aim of producing a joint statement which are essentially policy recommendations to the Commission.
For the first time, an EKHA ("European Kidney Health Alliance") programme has been shortlisted and voted for. One of the members of this alliance of non-profit organisations representing key stakeholders in kidney health issues is the "European Renal Association - European Dialysis and Transplant Association" (ERA-EDTA). The programme that made it onto the European Commission's Health Policy Platform is called "Improving Organ Donation and Transplantation in the EU", and its aim is to improve Europe-wide access to kidney transplantation - the best renal replacement therapy, also from the medical perspective. However, there are barriers which limit the extent to which transplantation is used. The shortage of organs, especially, remains a devastating obstacle in the EU.
"EKHA proposed a thematic network which will bring together a broad group of stakeholders in the field of organ donation and transplantation to share best practices and support solutions to address main challenges faced by member states: how to increase organ availability, enhancing the efficiency and accessibility of transplant systems and improving quality and safety", explains EKHA chairman, Professor Raymond Vanholder (Belgium).
ERA-EDTA is very proud that many stakeholders voted for this topic, although all the competing projects were strong and innovative, too. "This poll result clearly shows that the shortage of organs and the long waiting lists for transplantation in many European countries are generally perceived as a huge societal issue", says ERA-EDTA president Professor Carmine Zoccali. "People expect the EU government to provide solutions and to pave the way so that the best medical renal replacement treatment is equally available in all European countries. We hope that the chosen program builds bridges between the different policy areas and that we can achieve a sustainable improvement for patients on the waiting list".