EURORDIS open letter to policy makers: Recommendations to protect people living with a rare disease during the COVID-19 pandemic

8 April 2020

EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe praises the actions, efforts and dedication of all health and social care professionals, as well policy makers at EU, national and regional level, who are facing difficult decisions and exhaustion on the frontline of this COVID-19 pandemic. 

We know that no policy maker or public health authority wishes to leave anyone behind during this pandemic. However, the 30 million people in Europe and 300 million worldwide living with a rare disease are among the most vulnerable populations during this crisis. 

We would therefore like to bring to their urgent attention the concerns and needs of people living with a rare disease, their families and carers during the current crisis. 

Through this open letter, we implore policy makers and authorities in Europe and around the world to take action to protect people living with a rare disease from becoming even more vulnerable during this crisis in line with the recommendations set out further below.

 

Rare diseases, often chronic, highly complex, progressive and severely disabling, generate specific care needs. The effect of COVID-19 on healthcare and social systems is immense, and directly impacts the care that people living with a rare disease receive during this stressful time, as well as their socio-economic status, education and employment.

Below we set out how COVID-19 impacts the lives of people living with a rare disease in seven areas listed below and issue recommendations in each area on What policy makers can do to support the rare disease community in the weeks and months to come.

This is a time for upholding the guiding principles of solidarity, equity and cooperation. It is a time to see through the promise to ‘leave no one behind’ and achieve universal health coverage for all. 

The crisis proves the importance of strong, well-funded, public health and welfare systems that address in particular the needs of the most vulnerable and also demonstrates the added value of coordination in public health policy and collaboration across borders within the EU and beyond.

1. Access to health care

 

⇩ 2. Screening and diagnosis of rare diseases

 

3. Holistic care, including social services and social support

 

4. Everyday life and work conditions

 

⇩ 5. Safe use of medicines

 

⇩ 6. Development of and access to medicines

 

7. Research on rare diseases

 

EURORDIS, as a member of both organisations, supports the communications on COVID-19 released by the European Patients Forum (EPF) and the European Disability Forum (EDF), and aims with this open letter to highlight the specific challenges and needs of the particularly vulnerable community of people living with a rare disease.

 


Download a PDF version of this open letter

 

This open letter has also been translated into Italian.

 

Page created: 26/03/2020
Page last updated: 21/04/2020
 
 
The voice of rare disease patients in EuropeEURORDIS The international voice of people living with rare diseasesRare Disease International Bringing together patients, families and experts to share experiences in a moderated multi-language forum. RareConnect The Rare Barometer Programme is a EURORDIS initiative that carries out surveys to transform rare disease patients' experiences into figures and facts that can be shared with decision-makers.Rare Barometer An international awareness raising campaign taking place on the last day of February each year, Rare Disease Day is a EURORDIS initiativeRare Disease Day Join the largest gathering of rare disease stakeholders across Europe, at the biennial European Conference on Rare Diseases and Orphan Products. ECRD is a EURORDIS initiativeEuropean Conference on Rare Diseases