World Kidney Day: EU health systems need paradigm shift

Written by Karin Kadenbach on 10 March 2016 in Opinion
Opinion

Our health systems need to switch their focus from disease to prevention, writes Karin Kadenbach.

Despite the huge amount European governments spend each year on healthcare, a mere three per cent of that is spent on prevention.

In addition, there is vast evidence to demonstrate the fact that even a relatively minor increase in funding for preventative actions would provide considerable health gains and reduced future healthcare costs.

This imbalance weighs heavily on the minds of policymakers. Many cases of chronic kidney disease can be prevented by simple population-wide measures.


RELATED CONTENT


Reducing tobacco and alcohol use, reducing salt, fat and sugar in food, increasing physical activity and, importantly, improving health literacy will make an impact.

Not only will such measures greatly improve European citizens' quality of life, they are also the most cost-effective and responsible actions to ensure the sustainability of our health systems.

In Austria, for example, a programme called the kidney screening initiative (niere.schützen) was launched this year. It aims to prevent chronic kidney disease deterioration and delay the start of haemodialysis.

The project raises awareness for the disease and also trains general practitioners and patients on preventing disease progression and complications.

If there is broad consensus among the health community on the benefits of prevention, why is policy evolving so slowly in the real world? Our health systems traditionally present a strong focus on disease and treatment.

What we need is a paradigm shift that puts health - not disease - at the core of its health systems. Within this new approach, prevention will have a crucial role.

The need for this change will be the theme of this year's European Kidney Forum, taking place on 19 April.

As Chair of the MEP group on kidney health, I will be hosting the event, bringing together the European kidney health community to discuss how we can prioritise actions that will to bring about this change.

 

About the author

Karin Kadenbach (S&D, AT) is Chair of Parliament's informal MEP group for kidney health

Tags

Interested in this content?

Sign up to our free daily email bulletins.

 

Share this page

Tags

Categories

Related Articles

Parliament hearing told of urgency to stem rise of AMR
27 June 2017

The EU and its member states have been urged to do more to stem the "very worrying" rise of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

Is now the time for urgent action on the misuse of antibiotics?
26 June 2017

Total antimicrobial resistance is knocking on Europe's door. Is it time now for urgent and decisive action on the misuse of antibiotics?

Occupational Skin Cancer: Outdoor Workers’ number one enemy
26 June 2017

Outdoor workers are at least twice as likely to contract skin cancer from exposure to the sun than indoor workers. Brian Johnson finds out why

Related Partner Content

Thought Leader: Juan Jover: Early intervention
31 March 2014

Early intervention is a cost-effective solution to reducing the burden of musculoskeletal disorders, writes Juan Jover.

Data protection regulation set to benefit patient health
4 December 2015

A balanced approach to data protection in research will boost patient health, writes Richard Bergström.