The European Council and the European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the new EU4Health programme for 2021 – 2027. Established in response to the lesson learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, this programme will have a budget of EUR5.1 billion which is  a significant increase for EU funding for health in comparison to the previous proposals for a health strand as part of the European Social Fund+ (413 million). The aim of the program is to support actions in areas where the EU’s contribution will be valuable, invest in health promotion and disease prevention, and prepare European health system to face future health threats.
Read more

Commission welcomes political agreement on EU4Health 

Many of ACHIEVE main priorities are referenced in the agreement, in particular ACHIEVE has managed to ensure that the fight against communicable diseases, via improvements in prevention, surveillance, diagnosis and treatment, is mentioned alongside the fight against non-communicable diseases in the programme objectives.

The final text calls for strengthening of the ECDC inducing “capacity building in crisis response, preventive measures related to vaccination and immunisation, strengthened surveillance programmes, health information, and platforms to share best practices.” (Recital 10)

  • While the final text does not include references to “networks of excellence” as described in the European Parliament Report on the EU4Health programme, it instead calls for the “strengthen and scale up networking through the ERNs and other transnational networks, also outside the area of rare diseases, to increase the coverage of patients and the response to low prevalence and complex communicable and non-communicable disease”  (Article 4 – point 9)
  • In the Annex the text calls for best practice sharing through “Supporting the establishment and coordination of Union Reference Laboratories and Centres, Centres of Excellence; and EU disease-specific platforms for the exchange of best practices between Member States”. (Annex G iv)
  • In comparison to the European Parliament report and the original European Commission proposal addressing hepatitis as a collateral health consequences of a health crisis has been included. In the annex:“1(e)
  • Supporting actions to address the collateral health consequences of a health crisis, in particular the consequences for mental health, on and patients suffering from cancer, from chronic diseases and other vulnerable situations, including people living with addiction, with HIV/AIDS, or suffering from hepatitis and tuberculosis;” (Annex F v)

This provisionally agreed deal will still need to be approved by the Parliament and the Council before it can be finalized.

However,  this is a good basis for continued advocacy for a call for a communicable disease network of excellence with focus on viral hepatitis, HIV and TB, to share best practice and ensure its implementation to derive forward elimination across the EU in line with the WHO Strategies and fulfilling the EU’s commitment to the UN SDGs.

Check out more