The role of civic society and Patients Advocacy Groups for more resilient Health Care Systems. Lessons learned toward a European Health Union

  5th & 6th May 2021, from 10:00 to 12:00
Digital Conference

To join the conference, please register here (registration is mandatory).

The XV European Patients’ Rights Day (EPRD) will be celebrated with a virtual event by Active Citizenship Network (ACN) with its traditional format of a big multi-stakeholder conference focused on the importance of the citizen organizations’ engagement and a multisectoral approach to take action on cross-border health threats, actual and future. 

The 2021 conference will have a twofold structure, focused on showing and discussing examples of citizen’s engagement in health policies in this particular historical moment: a first day, dedicated to the health challenges faced by non-COVID patients and a second day,focused on the resilience of Healthcare Systems and the national immunization plans.

Indeed, the COVID-19 pandemic is placing a huge strain on health systems, worldwide it forced to adapt, to innovate care management in some cases and it has had a major impact on citizens’ lives in several respects. One of the most important has been the limited access to different health services. Active Citizenship Network consider not acceptable to respond to the immediate needs of citizens facing Covid-19 pandemic simply by closing services. Alternative organizational solutions are therefore needed to guarantee continuity and quality. Our commitment is to engage citizens and citizens’ associations across Europe to better know and implement health policies. We believe it is even more important, in this historical moment, to work to build a proper citizen and patient organizations’ engagement culture: knowing and spreading the good practices and the lessons learned during this Covid-19 health crisis.

The pandemic affected people’s livelihoods, economies, international trade. It has added its burden onto other systemic problems, from climate change to inequality. But it has also made one thing clear: we live in an era in which local problems swiftly become global challenges. This means that we can work together to recover from this crisis and seize the opportunity to build back better, learning from our shared experience and ensuring that efficient and innovative tools and technologies become the basis for a more resilient, sustainable, healthy growth.

As stated at the beginning of the Manifesto for a European Health Union : “This will not be the last pandemic. There will also be many other threats to health, including the effects of climate change, antimicrobial resistance, and much else. We cannot continue with life as before. We have to safeguard our societies but in ways that are proportionate to the dangers which threaten them. We must welcome the clear statement by the European Commission President Dr Ursula von der Leyen in her September 2020 “State of the Union” address, setting out the necessity to create a stronger European Health Union (EHU), building on recent efforts by the European Commission to take action on cross border health threats.”

The aim of tackling the main challenges linked to the health emergency in a synergistic manner is shared by

another important event that will take place in Italy during the Italian's Presidency of the G20: the World Health Summit, that will be held in Rome on 21st May 2021. It would discuss the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to vaccinations and international cooperation. 

During the European conference of the XV European Patients' Rights Day, Active Citizenship Network would like to value the good practices of citizens’ engagement in health policies & multi-stakeholder actions to tackle the pandemic for a future stronger European Health Union: starting from concrete examples and experiences coming from different countries, involving the point of view of patients’ and civic associations, EU Institutions and experts, health professionals, public and private bodies.

The conference will provide a civic perspective, putting and recognizing the citizens at the center of health policies, not only as “users or consumers” of health services or “patients” with a specific disease, but rather as active citizens participating in healthcare policymaking as essential stakeholders. This will strengthen our ‘European citizenship’, trying to reduce the gap between citizens and Institutions, by showing also the benefits that the EU could offer to patients. 

One of the main objectives of the conference is to gather insights to feed EU initiatives, exchange and discuss different experiences, good practices and more effective solutions – from a civic point of view – in overcoming the challenges of this historical moment for the global health, providing leaders of patient associations and advocacy groups the opportunity to attend an EU debate and keep them up to date about the topic and increasing the society-wide participation and uptake: engage all stakeholders— first of all civil society—to fulfil the ambitions towards a European Health Union.

The closer alignment of patient organisations and experts will strengthen the launched messages and provide a platform for organisations to share best practices and support them in promoting health issues to successfully move forward.

To read the programme of the Conference click here
To read the speakers' biographies click here
Click here to see the video-recordings of the first and the second day of the Conference
Click here to read the minutes of the first and the second day of the Conference
Click here to read the press release and here for the press review
Click here to see the photos of the event
Click here to read our Manifesto "Addressing non-covid patients: COVID-19 lessons learned for more resilient Health Care Systems. 10 Concrete recommendations towards a European Health Union"


To know more:


For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Media Partners:

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The conference is realized thanks to the unconditional support of:

teva and co

The European Patients’ Rights Day has become a regular annual event on the European and national political agendas to inform, discuss and take commitments to improve patients’ rights in Europe and in each Member State. Every year, also thanks to the more than one hundred patient and civic associations of our network, the EPRD is celebrated in hundreds of cities and ways all around Europe (here there are some examples of the celebrations in 2017,2018,2019,2020).

Last update: 4th May, 2021

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