Health-EU Newsletter

Issue 92, 14 June 2012

In this edition


14 June 2012 – World Blood Donor Day: ‘Every blood donor is a hero’

By Dr Dominik Schnichels, Head of Unit, European Commission, Substances of human origin and Tobacco control Unit, SANCO D4

On 14 June we celebrate the World Blood Donor Day with different events. The theme of this year is ‘Every blood donor is a hero’. The goal is to raise awareness of the need for more regular voluntary blood donors. Also, the European Commission wants to remind citizens of the importance of giving blood and to recognise blood donors worldwide for their altruism. Without their solidarity, hospitals would not be able to give blood transfusions to people in need during major surgery, a complicated delivery or after a traffic accident. These situations are frequent and can happen to any of us or to our relatives.


Blood and blood products cannot be stored forever, that is why hospitals need a constant supply of blood donations. In addition, the population of the European Union is ageing, which increases the prevalence of age-related diseases like cancer or hip fractures, where treatment often requires blood transfusions.


The EU legislation helps to ensure safety and quality of blood donations, both for donors and for recipients. It sets eligibility criteria and helps donors take responsible decisions. It requires all donated blood bags in the EU to be tested, and puts some quality requirements on the handling of blood from its collection to its distribution, therefore making blood safer for all.


If you want to become a donor, have a look at SANCO's website where you will find a link to the main national blood donation programmes, and all the necessary information you need to become a hero.

News from the EU

Commissioner Dalli launches Child Safety Report Cards

The European Child Safety Alliance of EuroSafe, in partnership with WHO, UNICEF and country partners, have produced Child Safety Report Cards for more than 30 countries and a European Summary Report Card which summarises countries’ policies to support child and adolescent safety.

European Medicines Agency launches website on side effects

The European Medicines Agency has begun publishing suspected side effect reports for medicines authorised in the European Economic Area (EEA) on a new website:

EU Commission publishes report on the implementation of the Health Programme in 2010

The report provides detailed information on the budget for 2010,  its execution, including results of key actions funded.

Statement by Commissioner John Dalli on tobacco

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy speaks about tobacco in a video message for World No Tobacco Day – 31 May 2012.

‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’ new video clips online

The Commission has launched the next phase of its ‘Ex-smokers are unstoppable’ campaign with 3 new video clips and in flight smoking cessation card for air travellers.

Paola Testori Coggi, Director General for Health and Consumers delivers a speech about active and healthy ageing strategies

Paola Testori Coggi attended the Conference on Good Governance for Active and Healthy Ageing  on 4 June 2012.

Commissioner Dalli delivers speech on strategy for the pharmaceutical sector

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, attended the 53rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Full Line Wholesalers (GIRP) in Lisbon.

FC Barcelona announces cooperation with "Ex-Smokers are Unstoppable"

Barça and the European Commission are joining forces to achieve the common goal to help European citizens get rid of their addiction.

Reporting from across Europe


New boost to prevent obesity

Spain announced on 28 May the creation of a national Observatory for Nutrition and Obesity Studies, which will collect information on the nutritional habits of the Spanish people and data on obesity and overweight, especially in children. Almost 46% of Spanish children between 6 and 9 years of age are obese or overweight.


Summer heat wave plan

The annual national heat wave plan (PNC) was activated on 1 June, this seasonal surveillance will provide information about health risks during hot weather for the general public, professionals, health institutions, local authorities etc.

EU Press Releases

EU Commission and UEFA agree ‘smoke-free’ EURO 2012 will score goals for Europe’s health

UEFA’s decision to ban tobacco from the world’s third-biggest sporting event aligns with the European Commission’s ongoing efforts in tobacco cessation and control and sends a strong and inspirational message about the value of a life without tobacco.

Ombudsman calls for more transparency concerning medicines for children

The European Ombudsman, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros, has called on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to increase the transparency of its procedures for ensuring that children can benefit from new medicines.

1,000th designation of an orphan medicinal product: improving the lives of patients

The small numbers of patients affected by a single disease and the fragmentation of knowledge about rare diseases translates into difficulties for people to get the right diagnosis. Today's 1000th designation of an orphan medicinal product marks a tremendous success in improving this situation.

Forthcoming Events

2012 World Conference on Active Healthy Ageing and Technology (Eindhoven, 26-29 June 2012)

Under the theme ‘Who is afraid of ageing?’, the conference organised by the International Society for Gerontechnology will analyse all aspects of the ageing society.

European Partnership for Action Against Cancer Open Forum (Rome, 19-20 June)

The Open Forum will be hosted by the Italian Ministry of Health and will feature the themes of Cancer Promotion and Prevention and Cancer Information and Data.

22nd Biennial Congress of the European Association for Cancer Research (EACR-22) (Barcelona, 7-10 July 2012)

EACR-22 will provide a forum for discussion between scientists working in all fields of cancer research. It will focus on the latest developments from research through to personalised cancer treatment.

The Future of EU Alcohol Strategy (Brussels, 27 June 2012)

Organised by The European Alcohol Policy Alliance – in cooperation with Eurohealthnet, European Transport Safety Council and European Council Leagues – this event will be an opportunity to address the efforts to tackle alcohol-related harm.

New Publications

European school survey project on alcohol and other drugs (ESPAD)

New ESPAD study shows overall stable drug use among school students and a reduction in ‘heavy episodic drinking’, but no decrease in cigarette smoking.

Interventions for improving health literacy

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has published a paper providing rapid review of the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions to improve health literacy.

ECDC publish new report evaluating HIV treatment as prevention in the European context

The report  gathers evidence on the effects of the use of antiretroviral treatment to prevent HIV infection, and relates this evidence to current HIV treatment guidelines.

What's New on Health-EU

Have your say about the Health–EU portal

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14 June 2012 – World Blood Donor Day: ‘Every blood donor is a hero’

Activities at EU level

Public Health – Blood

European Commission – DG Health and Consumers


Video statement by Commissioner John Dalli

The EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy speaks about blood donation in a video message for World Blood Donor Day.

World Blood Donor Day

World Blood Donor Day is an annual event held each year on 14 June. The aim of designating this annual day and linking it to a global celebration is to promote voluntary non-remunerated blood donation throughout the world.

EU Health Prize for journalists – Articles

Everyone wants to live

By Majka Lisińska-Kozioł, national nominee for Poland (2011).

A new definition to giving

By Moira Mizzi, national nominee for Malta (2011).

Health Programme Projects

DOMAINE project – Donor management in Europe

This project contributes to creating a safe and sufficient blood supply by comparing and recommending good donor management practice.

EuBIS – European blood inspection project

The project addresses the quality and safety of blood and is targeted at those responsible for the operation of blood establishments and those responsible for inspecting them.

Other interesting links

European Directorate for the Quality of Medicines and HealthCare (EDQM) – work of the Council of Europe in the blood transfusion area

EU Optimal Blood Use – promoting improvement of the clinical transfusion process

The International Federation of Blood Donor Organizations

Health-EU. The Public Health Portal of the European Union
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