At its 3131st EPSCO Council meeting, ministers adopted two sets of Conclusions directly related to children’s health aimed at reducing inequalities in the health status of children in Europe due to chronic respiratory diseases, as well as communication disorders.
The Council adopted conclusions entitled "Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic respiratory diseases in children", calling upon Member States (MS) to give appropriate consideration to the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic respiratory diseases in children in their health programmes.
MS are also urged to increase public awareness of these diseases, strengthen smoking prevention and cessation programmes for pregnant women and follow the Council recommendation on smoke-free environment.
The Commission is invited to support MS in developing and implementing effective policies on the prevention of chronic respiratory diseases in children, improving networking among institutions responsible for the implementation of MS’ programmes, and strengthening cooperation of national centres and reinforcing existing international research networks.
Also, early years and life-course approach to achieve a healthy and active ageing, children’s participation in decisions concerning themselves, child-friendly healthcare and health in all policies approach were taken into account.
Some - although not to a great extent - attention was given to social determinants of health, but much more could be done with regards to a social gradient, poverty and social exclusion affecting health status of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in European societies the children live in.
The conclusions took into account the outcomes of the experts’ conference - in which EPHA spoke at - on "Prevention and control of childhood asthma and allergy in the EU from the public health point of view: urgent need to fill the gaps", held on 21-22 September 2022 in Warsaw, which highlighted an urgent need to improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of chronic respiratory diseases in children by addressing them in health policy at local, regional, national and EU levels. The issue of chronic respiratory diseases in children was also brought to the attention of the ministerial level conference "Solidarity in health. Closing the health gaps within the EU", held in Poznań on 7-8 November 2011.
Another priority for the Polish Presidency was to focus on communication disorders in children. The Council adopted conclusions entitled "Early detection and treatment of communication disorders in children, including the use of e-Health tools and innovative solutions", inviting MS to continue to give priority to early detection by screening and follow-up for hearing, vision and speech disorders in children.
Together with the Commission MS should consider the field of communication disorders in children as part of the ongoing process of work to be carried out on European reference networks in line with the cross-border health directive, and also give appropriate consideration to this topic in the context of the EU’s current e-health initiatives, including the e-Health network.
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