Chronic diseases affect the sufferer over a long period of time and generally progress slowly. Some of them – cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, mental illness – represent leading causes of mortality.
Tackling four major risk behaviours – smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle – can help prevent many chronic diseases. But to be effective, such efforts need to be based on targeted health promotion, prevention and early detection.
To efficiently address the challenge of chronic diseases, an integrated, horizontal approach is essential – involving all the relevant levels, from communities to policy makers.
Social and environmental determinants also play an important role in the development of chronic diseases, and there is a clear inequality in the burden of such conditions and in the access to prevention and control.
This first EU summit on chronic diseases will discuss medical, social and economic benefits of sustainable investments in health, ways to reduce the burden of chronic diseases, and how to strengthen the prevention and management of chronic diseases, with a focus on EU added value and action.
The first EU summit on chronic diseases brings together key policymakers, stakeholders and interest groups to explore ways to address chronic diseases effectively in the EU and to develop recommendations along the following questions:
- How does the expanding burden of chronic diseases affect the quality of life of citizens, the competitiveness of economies and the cohesion of societies and what can the EU do about it?
- How can the pressure of the expanding burden of chronic diseases on health systems be reduced and how can available resources be invested in the most efficient way?
- Which prevention measures are the most cost-effective in the short and in the long term, and how could they be implemented? How should the EU and its Member States promote their implementation? Which risk factors need to be addresses more efficiently?
- How do the health and care systems need to change to respond to the ageing challenge and growing phenomena of frailty and multi-morbidity?
- How to best reach, include and empower the most vulnerable and marginalised people successfully in prevention and care strategies?
- How could the European Union support Member States’ attempts towards containing the chronic disease burden? Which EU action would provide most added value – in economic, social and political terms?
The summit will develop Conference conclusions and a set of policy recommendations for action clarifying on how the medical, social and economic burden of chronic diseases should be tackled in the European Union now and in the years to come