Rare Diseases


June 2018

Diagnosis of rare diseases discussed during EAP Spring Meeting

The EAP Rare Diseases Working Group met during the general Spring Meeting in Sofia to discuss and present the latest developments on the accurate and timely diagnosis of rare diseases.

According to the presentations showed during the WG meeting, the first features of rare and disabling conditions often manifest in early childhood. A medical and family history, physical examination and results from universally available diagnostic laboratory test may indicate a rare disease in paediatric practice.

The main obstacle to an accurate diagnosis is the access to sophisticated metabolic studies and DNA tests to confirm the diagnosis, which are not available in lower and middle economies. Furthermore, the delay in establishing a diagnosis are still unacceptable in higher economies. The availability of new diagnostics to pediatricians will shorten the time from the first feature to a final, accurate diagnosis.

‘Rare’ is not rare in paediatric practice, in which most disabled children will eventually turn out to have a defined condition.  Once a diagnosis is established, new and effective treatments must become available regardless of the child’s geo-economic location.

A full report of the Rare Diseases Working Group meeting in Sofia is available here.

February 2018

Collaboration Rare Disease Forum of Sri Lanka’s with Paediatricians in Europe

EAP’s Working Group on Rare Diseases was invited at meeting of the Rare Disease Forum in Colombo, early January. The forum desires to collaborate with organizations and pediatricians in Europe to further enhance global initiatives on holistic diagnostic of, and care for, children with rare diseases.

The full report on the event can be found here.

December 2017

Transparency on development costs and agreement on maximum price of Orphan Medicine in Europe is warranted

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August 2017

A survey among paediatricians across Europe indicates that more information at primary care level and the facilitation of co-management between primary, secondary care and (sub) specialist (and families) would extend and share knowledge about rare diseases.

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Report from EURORDIS Membership Meeting 2017, Budapest


2016- Early childhood disabilities, rare diseases and guidelines; a rare-best practices session’. At the 6th Congress of the European Academy of Paediatric Societies (EAPS) in Genève.

As UNICEF, is looking at referral pathways and capacities at the primary care level, a partnership with professional associations, such as EAP can contribute importantly to building the capacities of practitioners in early childhood identification and intervention. Parents can unite and initiate their own syndrome specific organizations and in such a way contribute to person-centered health care. Neurometabolic diseases cause the highest level of disability, but the higher level of disability does not mean the lower quality of life. Parents wish for less in-patient hospital care and more hospital at home. The Rare best practice project has to collected best practice guidelines and identify rare disease research needs. Rare disease guidelines can and will support multidisciplinary, holistic, continuous, person-centered and participative care to people with rare diseases and full realization of their fundamental human rights.
Bettina Schwethelm, Erik and Marian de Graaf, David Neubauer,  Arunas Valiulis and Liesbeth Siderius

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RareBestPratices Guidelines http://www.rarebestpractices.eu/

About us

The European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP) acknowledges:

– The gap in health care as identified by EURORDIS, the European umbrella organisation for patients with rare diseases, The Voice of 12,000 Patients, in March 2009.

– The Recommendation of the Council of the European Union in the field of rare diseases to:

Establish and implement plans or strategies for rare diseases at the appropriate level or explore appropriate measures for rare diseases in other public health strategies, in order to aim to ensure that patients with rare diseases have access to high quality care, including diagnostics, treatments, habilitation for those living with the disease and, if possible, effective orphan drugs, and in particular; Luxembourg, 9 June 2009.


The EAP Rare Disease (RD) working group, established in 2010 will serve as a network of pediatricians to:

  1. Provide sufficient services for expert diagnosis or confirmation of diagnosis.
  2. Ensure appropriate capacity and equal access to follow-up and management of children with rare diseases.
  3. Produce and adhere to good practice guidelines and implement outcome measures and quality control.
  4. Use and demonstrate a multi-disciplinary approach in management of patients and families.
  5. Document and maintain a high level of expertise and experience through publications, grants or honorary positions, teaching and training activities
  6. Make a strong contribution to international research and support international trials in treatment of rare diseases.
  7. Provide epidemiological surveillance, such as by registries, preferably at a European level.
  8. Communicate with health authorities and policy makers in order to improve the finances for health care of patients with rare diseases.
  9. Support, communicate with, and advise patient rare disease networks and organisations
  10. Collaborate with initiatives of the European Commission Rare Disease Task Force, in developing national plans for integrated services and support for patients and families affected by rare diseases.

The EAP RD working group aims to achieve these goals in acting supplementary to parties active in the field of rare diseases.