On 8 November the EAU joined 22 scientific, professional, patient and non-profit organisations in launching a manifesto for policy reform on Continence Health in Europe. The manifesto was launched at the first Continence Health Summit in Brussels and aims to raise awareness among EU and national policymakers of continence health problems and to instil the need for action.
The Urge to Act Manifesto calls for concrete policy changes to face the challenges and makes ten high-level recommendations to European and national policymakers to recognise the importance of patient-centred continence care. It also promotes a holistic understanding of the intricate links between continence health and healthy ageing, women’s health, as well as disease areas like cancer, mental health, neurological problems and several other comorbidities such as obesity. This will require increased funding for continence health research.
The summit presents the results of a report, commissioned by the European Association of Urology and conducted by Triangulate Health Ltd, on the socio-economic and environmental costs of continence health problems. This research on the economic burden of urinary incontinence reveals that the cost of continence care will reach an estimated €69.1 billion in 2023. These costs include the impact of incontinence on individuals’ health, the costs of medical consultations and products such as continence pads, incontinence-related absenteeism at work, nursing home admissions, and the environmental impact of incontinence care. If no action is taken to support continence health, the economic burden could rise by 25% in 2030 to €86.7 billion. This financial burden becomes considerably higher when including caregiver costs.
Professor Philip Van Kerrebroeck, co-chairman of the Policy Office of the European Association of Urology says: “Continence problems are felt across gender, age, and socio-economic backgrounds, and can result in a serious negative impact on individuals’ quality of life. Physical, psychosocial and economic consequences for patients and their carers are a barrier to full participation in society. Optimal continence health should be a reality for everyone. It is time to take action and transform this neglected issue to address the continence health challenge Europe is facing. Much more should be done to reduce the direct expenses, the burden on patients, their carers, and on society.”