Prague – The quality and availability of cancer treatment should be the same in all countries of the European Union. Czech Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek said this at the beginning of the informal meeting of EU health ministers in Prague (TOP 09). It should ensure the connection of treatment centers into a cooperative network and comparable programs for the early detection of various types of cancer. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides reminded that the Union has set aside four billion euros (almost CZK 98 billion) for the fight against cancer. The health ministers of other EU countries, when arriving at the meeting, emphasized the importance of the selected priorities, which, in addition to cancer, include vaccinations and assistance to Ukrainian refugees.
“We want to offer EU residents the same quality of care in different countries, the same standards, and also define treatment protocols,” Válek said. Within a few years, a network of European oncology centers should be established, which should cooperate closely.
The Czech Republic wants to inspire other European countries in programs for the early detection of cancer, so-called screenings. To investigate the risk of breast, cervical, colon and rectal cancer, and from this year also lung cancer, there could be more in the Czech Republic. “We started debating prostate cancer screening, it needs to be started as a European program. We, as the Czech Republic, want to prepare standards and offer them to the European Union,” added Válek.
According to Válk, in cooperation with professional medical societies, new standards for these examinations should soon be created, as the last ones date from 2003. In addition, in different countries of the union, people have the option of being examined for different types of cancer, which, according to Válk, should be unified.
“Now, 19 years later, we are moving on to new methodologies because we know that early diagnosis saves life,” Kyriakides added. According to her, the EU’s ambitious plan to fight cancer has a budget of almost four billion euros (more than 98 billion crowns).
Another topic of the ministers’ meeting is vaccination. “We want to support all types of vaccination, not just covid, but all other infectious diseases. We want to offer widely available free vaccinations and the most up-to-date type of vaccine to the European population,” he added.
Ukrainian Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko will also join the meeting online. “As for Ukraine, we want to increase the quality of care in Ukraine, including some changes related to the education system,” Válek said. According to him, it is necessary to ensure that people treated as refugees in European countries receive the same care even after returning to their homeland. “We will also discuss with the Ukrainian Minister of Health what they need from the European Union,” he added.
As part of the informal meeting of the ministers, representatives of the steering board of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will meet with the producers of the covid-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The Union wants to change the contracts so that it does not have to continue to buy millions of doses of vaccines that it does not need, and can set up a different system in the future. “I am sure that we have the same goal with the pharmaceutical companies, which is to ensure cheap and widely available vaccines and their latest type for European citizens,” he said.
According to the commissioner, representatives of three manufacturers, Bavarian Nordic, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, will arrive at the meeting.
EU health ministers will discuss vaccination or a plan to fight cancer
Today in Prague, the health ministers of the European Union countries will discuss plans to fight cancer, vaccination support and other topics. One of them will also be the war in Ukraine and its effects on the healthcare sector, whether it concerns healthcare for refugees in EU countries or the restoration of the Ukrainian healthcare infrastructure after the war. Ukrainian Minister of Health Viktor Lyashko will also join the meeting online.
As part of the informal meeting of the ministers, representatives of the steering board of the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority (HERA) will meet with the producers of the covid-19 vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech. The Union wants to change the contracts so that it does not have to continue to buy millions of doses of vaccines that it does not need, and can set up a different system in the future.
EU diplomacy health presidency