During the month of September, and in the lead up to global Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) Awareness Day on September 24, the cardiovascular community is coalescing on the issue of FH. The most common genetic cause of high LDL cholesterol, FH impacts 34 million people worldwide. When left untreated, FH can lead to early death in the prime of life – yet 90% of people with FH are currently undiagnosed.
Earlier this year the FH community issued “A Global Call to Action,” combining the perspectives of patients, clinicians, advocacy organizations, scientific associations and public health officials. The unprecedented document represented insights and expertise from across 40 countries representing high-, middle-, and low-income regions. Inspired by the 1998 WHO recommendations on FH, the call to action paves a way forward for health care systems around the world to implement lasting policy solutions for genetically high-risk cardiovascular populations.
This month, the FH community is elevating its call to action in hopes that the scientific advancements and research gains of the last two decades can become accessible to more patients around the globe. The effort is a continuation of ongoing advocacy by organizations such as the Global Alliance for Patient Access, which advocates for patient-centered care, and FH Europe, a patient network dedicated to early identification and diagnosis of FH. For FH patients, who have lived with high cholesterol since birth, timely and optimal therapeutic access is critical. Collaboration among patient-centered organizations like these is key to amplifying priorities to policymakers.
Efforts to position FH as a global health priority are rooted in nine public policy recommendations for improving FH care:
This document incorporates best practices, proven country-specific solutions to gaps in care, and up-to-date treatment information. In short, it represents a critical advocacy tool for FH stakeholders.
Now, the FH community looks to those advocates to encourage the successful, country-specific implementation of these public policy recommendations. With advocacy organizations, patients and clinicians collectively engaging with government bodies, the FH community can move global consensus into global action.
Jasmine Patel, MPH
Director, Policy and Outreach
Global Alliance for Patient Access
The Global Alliance for Patient Access is pleased to partner with FH Europe and its collaborating organizations during National Cholesterol Education Month and FH Awareness Day to amplify the Global Call to Action on FH and support in-country advocacy efforts to implement the document’s public policy recommendations.
This blog is also posted on FH Europe.