EUROPEAN PARTNERS IN CD SKILLS PROJECT TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF COELIAC DISEASE PATIENTS IN THE DANUBE REGION

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  2. EUROPEAN PARTNERS IN CD SKILLS PROJECT TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF COELIAC DISEASE PATIENTS IN THE DANUBE REGION

The main goals of the project are improving the knowledge of healthcare professionals and patients and the development of new services to improve the quality of life of Coeliac disease patients in the Danube region.

University Medical Center (UMC) Maribor as the lead partner, the Municipality of Maribor and eleven European partners are cooperating in the transnational project CD SKILLS (Improving coeliac disease management in the Danube region by raising the awareness, improving the knowledge and developing better skills). The project is addressing existing challenges of public healthcare sector and Coeliac disease management in the Danube region. The partnership is comprised of hospitals, universities, associations, local communities and food producers from Belgrade, Budapest, Bucharest, Debrecen, Graz, Prague, Merano, Varna, Zagreb and Kishinev.

Coeliac Disease

.. is a chronic lifelong disease, an immune reaction to eating gluten that most commonly affects the small intestine. More than 1 % of the population is affected; 1.3 million people in the Danube region. There is no cure and patients must follow a strict gluten-free diet. The disease affects not only the patients and their families, who need to adjust their eating habits, but also has an impact on restaurants, work places, healthcare institutions and society overall.

CD SKILLS project began on 1st July 2020. It builds on knowledge gained in completed international projects CD-MEDICS, LQ-CELIAC and Focus IN CD. By creating a strong European network composed of partners with different expertise to exchange experience, transfer good practice, develop new services and innovative approaches, the partnership strives to achieve early diagnosis of the disease and establish a supportive environment to improve the quality of life of Coeliac disease patients.

With the aim to improve public healthcare services, catering services and society's understanding of Coeliac disease patients, CD SKILLS project partners will develop new diagnostic methods, educate patients and healthcare professionals by using innovative methods, raise public awareness, improve access to treatment and increase the exchange of information.

By integrated services, patient approach will ameliorate and absence due to sick leave will reduce, consequently lowering the costs of healthcare services and improving the quality of life of Coeliac disease patients. The assessment of the current state of the art in Coeliac disease management in the Danube region will be followed by introducing new educational techniques combining traditional and e-learning methods. The second thematic work package includes the development and implementation of new diagnostic methods. Furthermore, partners will test programmes and introduce new services to improve safe gluten-free food offer in restaurants, schools and nurseries, as part of pilot project activities. Using Coeliac disease quick tests, partners will focus on detecting Coeliac disease in vulnerable groups of people (with senior citizens being the target group this time).

CD SKILLS project is co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI) in the framework of Interreg Danube Transnational Programme (85% of the total budget). The total project budget is around 1.7 million euros, of which the UMC Maribor gets 248,070 € and the Municipality of Maribor 169,760 €. The projects lasts 30 months.

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