by Anita Arsovska, FESO

The 2nd EU Stroke Summit, organized by Stroke Alliance for Europe (SAFE) and European Stroke Organization (ESO) took place in Brussels, Belgium in the European Parliament on the 23rd of May, 2018. The aim of this meeting was to launch the Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030 in front of certain members of the parliament.

Elena Gentile (Italy), Member of the European Parliament (MEP), opened the meeting and welcomed the participants. She talked about stroke as a huge medical, economical, social and society problem, emphasizing the burden of stroke significance, not only for the stroke survivors, but also to their families. Jon Barrick (Great Britain), President of SAFE, talked about the Stroke Action Plan for Europe, that consists of 7 domains (Primary Prevention, Organization of Stroke Services, Management for Acute Stroke, Secondary prevention and organized follow-up, Rehabilitation, Evaluation of Stroke Outcome and Quality Assessment).

The overarching targets for 2030 are:

1. Reduce the absolute number of strokes in Europe by 10%,
2. Treat 90% or more of all patients with stroke in Europe in a stroke unit as the first level of care,
3. Have national plans for stroke encompassing the entire chain of care from primary prevention through to life after stroke,
4. Fully implement national strategies for multi-sectorial public health interventions promoting and facilitating a healthy life-style, and reducing environmental (including air-pollution), socio-economical and educational factors that increase the risk of stroke.

Bart van der Worp, President of ESO talked about types of stroke and their contemporary treatment. Tairi Taht, Counsellor for Health Affairs, Estonian Representation to the EU, stressed the importance of the unified approach, treatment and care in all patients in Europe, while Grethe Lunde, (Norway), SAFE treasurer and stroke survivor, talked about her own personal experience with stroke, concluding that a life saved after stroke must also be lived.

Afterwards, the Panel discussion: Stroke Action Plan for Europe, from paper to practice started, moderated by Tamsin Rose, Independent EU Health Advocate, with participants Silvia Villanueva, Project Officer of Scientific Research, Neuroscience sector, Unit E4 on Non-communicable diseases and the challenge of healthy ageing, DG for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) and Zinta Podniece, Deputy Head of Unit, Unit B3 on Health and Safety, DG for Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion (DG EMPL).

The closing statement was given by Elena Gentile (Italy), MEP, who pointed out the significance of this summit and offered the support of the EU Parliament in the fight against stroke in Europe.

The complete Stroke Action Plan for Europe will be released as a forthcoming publication in the European Stroke Journal.