Rebecca Richter

Director Political Affairs, Fresenius Group (Germany)

Being a trained translator for English and Spanish, having a qualification as Public Relations Specialist and a Master’s Degree in Health Economics, Rebecca has been working with Fresenius for more than 20 years now.

Joining Fresenius as Executive Assistant to the Management Board in 2001, she changed internally to participate in the establishment of Government Affairs at Fresenius in 2003. Since Government Affairs and Corporate Communications have been one department from 2004 until 2019, Rebecca has also a long-standing experience in various fields of communication while always having focused on political issues. In 2018, she obtained a qualification on the EU from College of Europe in Bruges (Belgium). Her today’s function includes, amongst others, the representation of Fresenius in various associations like in MedTech Europe where she is chairing the Community Care Sector Group.

Caring for her mother at home who is severely disabled after a stroke, Rebecca also knows the patient’s perspective, seeing a lot of potential in the further development of Community Care both to the benefit of patients, especially those with chronic diseases, and the health care systems.

Providing health services in the community offers benefits to patients and can be more efficient for health systems. This was true long before any of us had heard of COVID-19, but the pandemic has highlighted the need to provide safe and effective community and home care for vulnerable patients, like those suffering from chronic kidney disease (CKD) and needing kidney replacement therapy (KRT ). By 2030, if no action is taken, the number of CKD patients could reach 14.5 million . This imposes a heavy burden on patients and their families, but also translates into significant costs for health systems: treatment for CKD accounts for 2% of many countries' healthcare budgets. While investing in preventative measures and research for kidney disease is important, we also need to provide all treatment options as part of the continuum of care to allow patients to live well with CKD. Our goal should be to embrace a shared decision-making approach and take advantage of the new opportunities provided by digital solutions for remote treatment and patient support, particularly in the context of COVID-19. This concept is reflected in the theme of this year's World Kidney Day : Health for Everyone Everywhere: Living Well with Kidney Disease. COVID-19 risk factors Research shows that CKD is one of the most prevalent risk factors for severe COVID-19 . In light of this, the European Kidney Health Alliance has issued a Call to Action supported by the European Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, and endorsed by 20 Members of the European Parliament and 69 scientific & patient organisations from across Europe. It demands better access to home therapies, transplantation and the uptake of digital tools, as well as better prevention, research, collection and sharing of CKD data. The European Commission's Expert Panel on Resilient Health & Social Care...