September 18

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EPHA conference and René Magritte

European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) 6th ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2015 was held in Brussels on the 2nd of September. During 2 days professors from different institutions and ministers of different department were trying answer the question Towards a European Union for Health and what can all European countries do?

EPHA is a change agent – Europe’s leading NGO advocating for better health. They are a dynamic member-led organization, made up of public health NGOs, patient groups, health professionals, and disease groups working together to improve health and strengthen the voice of public health in Europe.

The 6th EPHA Annual Conference gathered over 250 participants from all over Europe. During the two days of conference, institutions, governments, NGOs, academics and industry came together for what has been defined “the liveliest recent public health event”. Six sessions covering all the range of topics in the Health in All Policies spectrum, four powerful keynote speeches, a headlines-worthy intervention by former Greek Health Minister Dr. Panagiotis Kouroumplis, a press conference on the much-discussed ECJ Advocate General’s Opinion on the Scottish Minimum Unit Pricing scheme for alcohol, and five enriching side events generated high quality ideas that will contribute to the cause of public health.

The problem of health is a very sensitive and very important question because it is linked to many other things in society. If you are not healthy you cannot be happy and useful member of society.

There are couple main principals:

  • welfare policies
  • financial and social protection
  • access to the health care
  • health protection

This year ACEC took part in this conference as a part of Side Event, organised by the EPHA in collaboration with the “Together for Better Health” Programe of GSK .  In this discussion were involved Ľubomíra SLUŠNÁ – FRANZ  the President of ACEC, Richard KOKY, Expert Field Coordinator of Healthy Communities NPO, Branislav ONDRUŠ State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family of the Slovak Republic, Marek VIRÁG the mayor of Roma village and Rado HORVÁTH Roma health mediator and also representatives of Roma-health NGO’s from Bulgaria and Macedonia . The objective of the event was to raise awareness among relevant stakeholders on real living conditions and health status of Roma people living in secluded communities in Central and Eastern Europe and the critical role of Roma Health Mediators in connecting secluded Roma communities to basic Health care systems. Representatives of NGO’s, local and national authorities presented best practices  and discussed main challenges and possible solutions that provide easy-to-access support from the European institutions to improve the current situation. The problem of Health in the Roma society is huge. Such diseases as scabies, tuberculosis, hepatitis, respiratory tract infections, pediculosis, lice, mycosis, pyodermia are spred and common in Roma settlements. ACEC presented a project of Health Mediators in Slovakia. This project is a great possibility for Roma peopele on the one hand get an access to the health care  and reduce morbidity and it is a great opportunity for Roma people to get a job on the other hand.  Because all Health mediators in Slovakia are Roma. Mrs Lubomira informed that Healthy Communities as a project had been implemented in 2003. In 2003 there were only 11 settlements involved  in this project but now it is 212 settlements. It is means that more then 250 000 settlement inhabitants  have access to the First Aid! From presentation of Mr Koky we heard that Healthy Communities and ACEC had created a network featuring collaborators and coordinators amounting to 223 assistants and coordinators and 725 doctors. And Branislav ONDRUŠ State Secretary said in his speech that the Government was totally involved in those project that day, Ministry Of Health of Slovakia has been supporting this project since 2013.

During all  sessions there were a lot of  impresive data  of increasing the number  of Health mediators and decreasing of a mobility. But the audience was really inspired by the story about life of Roma man, Rado HORVÁTH who has been working as a health mediator during couple years. His story was about one day in the life of Health Mediator.  He told us how his life had chenged. He told that now he was able to buy his first car and all his family had moved to new house and he was realy happy because he had a job and he could help other Roma people.

And at the end…

Brussels has a million faces and a lot of tourist attractions, but for me Brussels its a René Magritte and his amazing paintings. René Magritte was a Belgian surrealist artist best known for his witty and thought-provoking images and his use of simple graphics and everyday imagery.

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