World Pulmonary Hypertension Day 2021

Dear Friends,

This year was challenging again due to the COVID pandemic and made the proper planning difficult, but we learnt from the previous year and were prepared for a plan “B” if needed.

There was a great variety of events organized by member associations: in some countries it was possible to run in-person events, however in other countries the activities were limited to the online world. We were also witness to a nice combination of both types of initiatives. As of this year PHA Europe has taken over the global coordination of World PH Day events, which is a big honor, but on the other hand a great responsibility and a lot of work.

As part of this work, we have re-launched the WorldPHDay.org website which is a hub with ready-to use materials in English and Spanish. The site contains an interactive calendar about events (with login details) organized all over the world, and information about pulmonary hypertension, the participating partners and also our sponsors, who made World PH Day celebrations possible this year.

World Pulmonary Hypertension Day webpage
World Pulmonary Hypertension Day webpage

You can learn more about the visuals we prepared and made available to the PH community in this edition. We managed to create enormous interest towards our messages and the online reach of 9,4 million (!) and almost 9 million (!) on Facebook and Instagram, respectively, was far better than our expectation. These results are even more impressive if we take into account how the social networks are overloaded with contents nowadays. On top of raising awareness of pulmonary hypertension we were busy with advocacy activities. You can get insight in the following part of Mariposa into an important initiative of an online petition we launched some days before World PH Day: we called upon the decision and policy makers to take immediate steps and address unmet needs of patients living with pulmonary hypertension. The call covers, among others, action on access, transplantation and holistic care. You can support this initiative here.

Ensure access to treatment to pulmonary hypertension patients before it's too late
Ensure access to treatment to pulmonary hypertension patients before it's too late

But the online petition was not the only advocacy activity we planned and organized this year. You can learn more about the very high-profile online event co-organized with the European Respiratory Society from the video below. With the participation of members of the European Parliament, a representative from the European Commission and key opinion leaders from the medical field of PH an online webinar was held by the MEP Lung Health Group on Accelerating EU research for rare diseases – the case of pulmonary hypertension. We were happy and very optimistic that we have had the chance to include the patient perspective in this event by providing a patient journey. We plan to follow up on this event and make further progress on the research for the benefit of patients.

Some years ago, we started to include patient empowerment elements into World PH Day events. This year we were extremely successful and organized and co-organized five webinars in various languages on different topics. We put emphasis during these webinars on quality of life measures and everyday life’s problems, but also touched upon the effects of COVID and congenital heart disease on PH patients. All the webinars were recorded and made available on our youtube channel. We hope that they will be important and valuable resources for the PH community.

Dr. Flavia Navarro – HP Associada a Cardiopatias Congenitas

Marcelo Bandeira – HAP: desafios atuais e perspectivas futuras na era pos-covid 19 by PHA Europe

Dr Sahay and Dr Bobhate – How to stop worrying and start living with PH

Dr. Pilar Escribano -Tratamiento por objetivos y estrategia de seguimiento en la HP

The importance of measuring patient recorded outcomes – Dr Joanna Pepke-Zaba

The staff members of PHA Europe have also shown their dedication to World PH Day and marked this very day in different ways: some of them got breathless for PH in trail running and triathlon races, others turned into our color of blue or wore our branded T-shirt and had fun. The World PH Day events always have the same message: we are a big family! To facilitate interactions between the patient associations from all over the world, we re-opened our virtual centre previously used for the Annual Pulmonary Hypertension European Conference and made fine-tunes, provided new materials and resources and held a meeting at our famous virtual pool!

A big applause goes to the patient associations, patients, family members, carers, friends and last, but not least to our medical partners, physicians, surgeons and researchers, who joined us to celebrate WPHD events this year. Without their dedication we would not be where we are now. Special thanks go to our industry partners, who make our work possible and support our projects. I am eager to learn about next years’ WPHD plans and projects and looking forward to the fruitful collaboration!

You can learn more about the activities from here: PHAE – Mariposa Journal (2021 Summer N.26).