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Maria Badia i Cutchet (Spain)

MEPs speak out on dementia

June 2012: Maria Badia i Cutchet, MEP (Spain) and member of the European Alzheimer's Alliance, speaks about Alzheimer's disease in the framework of the "Health for Growth" programme

The Health for Growth Programme arises at a time in which Europe has to face great challenges. Challenges linked to globalisation, to the fragile economic situation and to an ever-ageing society. In this context, investing in people's health is the way to make growth possible and health systems sustainable.

The Commission proposal presents a wide range of initiatives to strengthen EU's actions in different health-related areas. To that extent, the European Parliament points out in its report the fields where improvements can be made to widen the scope of the Programme's proposals.

First of all, age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, that require further research to set early detection measures and improve the living conditions of the affected persons, is one of the fields to prioritize. Therefore, it is essential to take advantage of the Health for Growth Programme to translate the research breakthroughs into medical applications and get them coordinated across the EU. These actions will help to enhance the population's health in Europe, facilitating cooperation and making health systems stronger and more sustainable.

Secondly, Health for Growth fosters new chances to fight inequalities in the health sector, particularly when they come to different regions and population sectors. Hence, putting vulnerable groups - such as elderly people, who are most likely to suffer from dementia diseases - in the spotlight, becomes essential.

Moreover, additional actions can be carried out under the Health for Growth programme, especially those concerning white jobs strategies related to the flagship initiative "New skills for new jobs". Most of people with dementia are looked after in their own homes by informal carers or relatives. Therefore, it is crucial to provide proper training and life-long learning to health sector workers, particularly those developing specific assistance care and those involved in geriatric medicine.

For all these reasons, age-related diseases need to be pushed forward on the EU political agenda to become top priorities. Taking advantage of the European Year of active ageing, the European Parliament calls the European Commission to make Health for Growth Programme a platform to support public health systems as they are an essential mechanism to keep social welfare, tackle inequalities and offer all the required support to the most vulnerable.

In any case, age-related diseases, in the context of ageing societies, are indeed an issue of common concern across Member States.



Last Updated: Tuesday 16 September 2014