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Building health
promoting systems
fit for the future.

EuroHealthNet Annual Report June 2020-June 2021

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Building health promoting systems fit for the future.

EuroHealthNet Annual Report June 2020-June 2021

4. Practice

The work of the practice platform is to develop knowledge and build capacity for the implementation of effective strategies, programmes, and initiatives to promote health and reduce health inequalities. Our work is about international exchange, putting research into practice, and understanding and improving the relationship between policy and ‘real world’ conditions.

Public health bodies and professionals benefit from collaboration, exchange, and shared thinking as many issues are shared across borders. The platform provides an opportunity to understand the effects of different factors, and how to transfer practices across settings.

In the practice platform we strive to be at the forefront of developments within the field of public health, health promotion and disease prevention. We also seek to explore new avenues of opportunity where we can strengthen knowledge and capacity.

Addressing finance and funding for health equity has been a key part of our work this year, with the launch of an online guide into financing health promoting systems, as well as analyses of the next EU budget and its effects on health, and the interaction between health impacts and post-pandemic economic recovery measures.

Our work this year has included

Building capacity to access funding and financing for public health, health promotion and disease prevention

A Series of Webinars

Expanding knowledge on action for chronic disease prevention, health equity, and vaccination for all.

Building capacity to access financing for health promoting services

EuroHealthNet launches an online guide for financing health promoting services

Good health and wellbeing is a value in itself but also arguably our greatest social and economic asset. Relatively few resources however, go into fostering this asset by promoting health and preventing illness across the population. The e-guide encourages health and social planners and policy makers at all levels to address this issue, and to find innovative ways to invest in health and wellbeing. It includes case studies and examples that can provide inspiration, and the latest developments on potential new sources and novel approaches to finance health and social measures that tackle the underlying causes of ill-health and disease.

The e-guide is especially relevant now, as the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to a further increase in chronic diseases and exacerbate health inequalities. Dedicated investments in prevention and health promotion at national, regional and local levels will be needed to strengthen the resilience of communities and to increase the sustainability of our health systems.

E-guide twitter

Seizing the opportunities for a healthy recovery – Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and NextGenerationEU

In April 2021, we published a comprehensive overview of funds and programmes in the new EU budget and their relevance for health. The publication ‘Seizing the opportunities for a healthy recovery – Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and NextGenerationEU’ not only covers health funding, but also social, environmental, economic recovery, and other mechanisms. The analysis explains how different areas of the budget can be used to improve health, tackle health inequalities, and build resilience to future health crises while enabling a sustainable recovery.

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Available EU funding and financing to respond to COVID-19

To respond to an enormous impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has on health and wellbeing of communities, the European Union has made funding and financing available to mitigate direct and indirect impacts of the crisis. In June 2020, we produced a rapid member briefing to provide a quick overview of the available funding and financing some of which could be directly used for strengthening health promoting services.

Webinar Series

Ageing, Health and the City in Times of COVID-19

The urbanisation and the ageing of our populations are interlinked – our cities are becoming older, too. This has important implications for public health, both in terms of physical as well as mental health. EuroHealthNet and the MINDMAP project organised a this webinar which concluded:

  • Addressing health inequalities related to ageing at urban level requires an intersectoral and systems approach, as well as the commitment of all stakeholders involved, including policymakers and communities.
  • It is crucial to tackle the narrative on ageing (ageism) through messaging and communication, and avoid older people being perceived homogeneously as ‘vulnerable’.
  • In the recovery from the pandemic, it is important that social and economic considerations go hand-in-hand, and that older people are included in the digital and green transitions.

Funding health promotion and health promoting services? Unpackaging new EU funds and exploring other financing solutions

In light of proposed important changes to the EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) 2021-2027 (the EU’s long-term budget) to help the European economy recover from the COVID-19 crisis, EuroHealthNet organised an interactive, members-only capacity building online meeting. The main purpose of the meeting was to uncover together new opportunities to fund health promoting activities.

The conclusions were:

  • The EU funding instruments offer a key opportunity to offset shortcomings in national budgets and to fill some of the investment gap in social infrastructure such as housing, education and health.
  • ‘Innovative’ financing solutions, such as social outcomes contracting models, can also help fund health promoting services.
  • The key to accessing new funds lies in improving communication and collaboration between health actors and other social sectors (within and between EU countries) to raise awareness of mutually relevant funding opportunities.

Expanding knowledge on action for chronic disease prevention, health equity, and vaccination for all

Promoting proven policies and practices to reduce the burden of chronic diseases: Joint Action CHRODIS PLUS

EuroHealthNet was a partner in the EU Joint Action on Chronic Diseases, ‘CHRODIS PLUS’, helping countries address the growing burden of chronic diseases since 2017. The Joint Action has implemented 21 pilot projects to test tools and good practices in addressing chronic diseases. To promote long-term sustainability and integration of good practices into policy, 16 policy dialogues were organised. The Joint Action CHRODIS-PLUS brought together 50 partners from 21 European countries. It was co-funded by the European Commission health programme. EuroHealthNet lead work on Health Promotion and policy dialogues.

CHRODIS-PLUS has demonstrated that we must take further action towards systemic solutions to tackle chronic diseases. Some ways to do this include linking NCD strategies to existing targets for health and sustainable development, and ensuring adequate economic, technical and human resources for the transfer, implementation and sustainability of good practices.

CHRODIS map

International collaboration on preventing and managing chronic diseases: what is the added value of the EU

EuroHealthNet has produced a summary of available CHRODIS-PLUS resources, the vision for exchanging good practices, and recommendations for integrating these good practices into national policies. It is now available in 20 languages.

This summary is part of a larger ‘consensus statement’ concerning the EU added value of cross-country collaboration to prevent and manage chronic diseases beyond 2020. It was developed by CHRODIS-PLUS partners, along with members of the CHRODIS-PLUS Governing Board and representatives of the European Commission’s Steering Group for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (SGPP).

How to instigate a change towards health promoting communities?

CHRODIS-PLUS transferred and implemented five good practices to tackle chronic diseases to eight new settings across the EU. The five practices involved working across sectors and focused on improving physical activity and/or diet and nutrition amongst different groups (children, employees, and older people). Two were set in schools, one in the workplace, and two in the community, with a focus on ensuring a ‘whole of community’ approach to health promotion and disease prevention.

EuroHealthNet, along with our member, the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) has drawn common lessons from the implementation reports on the process of transferring and implementing interventions in the field of health promotion and disease prevention and summarised them in the recommendations for all those interested in strengthening this field of work. Overall, the report summarises the transfer and implementation processes, the approaches taken, the facilitators and barriers encountered, and the outcomes.

Transfer and Implementation Process of a Good Practice in Workplace Health Promotion

EuroHealthNet collaborated with Andalusian Regional Ministry of Health on a scientific article Transfer and Implementation Process of a Good Practice in Workplace Health Promotion. The article reports on the transfer and implementation of certain elements of a Workplace Health Promotion (WHP) good practice (originated in Lombardy, Italy) in two organisations in Andalusia (Spain), within the framework of the European Joint Action CHRODIS PLUS. Read the article.

Intra- and inter-sectoral collaboration for health promotion and chronic disease prevention

Twenty good practices from fourteen countries were identified and investigated via surveys, workshops, and interviews. Mechanisms underlying identified success factors were examined.

EuroHealthNet supported our member National Institute for Public Health in the Netherlands (RIVM) in drawing a set of seven recommendations considered to be essential for fostering effective intersectoral collaboration within and outside of health care to strengthen health promotion activities.

  1. Connect collaboration goals with existing key policies, while actively advocating for political support.
  2. Define a shared vision of the problem to be solved aligned with organisational goals.
  3. Create an effective mix of different partners with diverse background and skills.
  4. Build bridges between sectors and disciplines through effective leadership.
  5. Keep collaboration partners engaged.
  6. Use a planned/systematic approach suitable for all partners.
  7. Ensure there are sufficient resources to sustain the collaboration

The summary is available in English, Italian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Spanish, Finnish, Dutch and in Serbian.

Six additional recommendations were developed for either the organisation of policy dialogues or issues to be picked up by policy makers and addressed national and/or European level governance:

  1. The CHRODIS PLUS Policy Dialogue Methodology is useful and transferable to other policy research fields and policy dialogues can serve as a key step in the policy making process.
  2. Health promotion and disease prevention are central to policy efforts to reduce chronic disease.
  3. An inter-sectoral approach to health promotion and disease prevention is key to addressing chronic diseases.
  4. Adequate human and financial resources are necessary to accomplish objectives set out during the policy dialogues.
  5. Addressing socio-economic and environmental determinants of health through effective policies and practices becomes even more urgent in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. Health is an increasing priority at all levels which brings new opportunities but also a need for more communication and coordination across all sectors and all levels, particularly by policy makers.

In addition, EuroHealthNet, in collaboration with project partners, including the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, published a scientific article Shaping Policy on Chronic Diseases through National Policy Dialogues in CHRODIS PLUS

EU Level Policy Dialogue on Funding of Health Promotion and Prevention of Chronic Diseases

This conference focused on showing how the good practices, models and tools implemented by the Joint Action can be tailored to various national and local settings across Europe. The presentations and roundtable discussions were structured around key focus areas:
In the framework of the final conference, EuroHealthNet organised and moderated two Roundtable discussions about:

  1. How to create environments and communities that promote health based on learning from the transfer, implementation and analysis of good practices across Europe.
  2. Designing and financing the future of European collaboration in Non-Communicable Diseases.

Most important conference materials including videos and background documents are available here.

Making Europeans happier, healthier, and more active through implementation of good practices: JA CHRODIS PLUS final conference

EuroHealthNet has produced a summary of available CHRODIS-PLUS resources, the vision for exchanging good practices, and recommendations for integrating these good practices into national policies. It is now available in 20 languages.

This summary is part of a larger ‘consensus statement’ concerning the EU added value of cross-country collaboration to prevent and manage chronic diseases beyond 2020. It was developed by CHRODIS-PLUS partners, along with members of the CHRODIS-PLUS Governing Board and representatives of the European Commission’s Steering Group for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (SGPP).

JAHEE Joint Action on Health Equity

The Joint Action Health Equity Europe (JAHEE) is a partnership of over 24 countries that came together with the goal to achieve greater equity in health outcomes across all groups in society. It aims to unify the diverse approaches taken by different countries.

EuroHealthNet is collaborating with JAHEE by contributing to their Policy and Communication activities. EuroHealthNet provides strategic advice to the JAHEE coordinators for work on Coordination, Communication, and Integration and Sustainability. Among the various activities, we organised two policy dialogues related to the impact of COVID-19 from a health equity perspective.

One policy dialogue was organised during the 16th World Public Health Congress and focus on comparing responses from across the world to identify common challenges and potential best practices. The other focused on the role of the European Semester to mitigate the widening of health inequalities and support the sustainability of JAHEE’s actions beyond its the collaboration. The meetings brought together public health experts, EU officials and Ministries of health. The audience counted with over 200 participants, mainly representatives from public health institutes and governmental stakeholders. We also supported JAHEE in the draft of associated policy briefings and dissemination of the outcomes.

JAHEE Logo

Vaccination and health equity

IMMUNION

EuroHealthNet is coordinating a new project on vaccination funded by the European Commission’s 3rd Health Programme, and managed by HaDEA, the new European Health and Digital Executive Agency. The Immunion project will:

  • Strengthen the Coalition for Vaccination and its long-term sustainability and visibility;
  • Improve the dissemination of validated vaccination training materials and resources to health professionals, including students, across Europe;
  • Provide training opportunities for health professionals and students on vaccination communication;
  • Enhance collaboration between public health institutions, health professionals and students, and the media; and
  • Understand drivers of vaccine inequalities within countries and address vaccination coverage issues in vulnerable and underserved populations.

The IMMUNION project began on 1 April 2021, and will last for two years. It brings together twelve partners from across the EU, included several EuroHealthNet members and observers (the Italian National Institute of Health, the Romanian National Institute of Public Health, the Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and the PROLEPSIS Institute of Preventive Medicine, Environmental and Occupational Health in Greece).

IMMUNION aims to contribute to and complement wider European efforts to improve vaccine uptake by improving collaboration amongst key actors in the field of vaccination, in the ultimate goal of delivering better vaccine education to health professionals and better information to the general public. It will support the work of the Coalition for Vaccination, of which EuroHealthNet is now a partner and the three Coalition co-chairs (the European associations of doctors, nurses and pharmacists) are project partners.

Immunion logo

Joint Action on Vaccination

Established in 2018 by 20 partners across Europe (including 6 EuroHealthNet members), the European Joint Action on Vaccination (EU-JAV) has five core aims: to more accurately monitor vaccination coverage, to ensure that everyone in the European Union has access to vaccination, to improve forecasting of vaccine stocks and systems for prevention of shortages, to set priorities for vaccine research and development, and to enhance public confidence in vaccination.

EuroHealthNet signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the consortium in 2018 to collaborate as part of the EU-JAV Stakeholders Forum. In September 2020, EuroHealthNet participated in the Annual Meeting and Conference, held virtually.

During the Annual Meeting, members of the Stakeholders Forum provided advice and made commitments to support dissemination of EU-JAV outputs during this final year of the Joint Action. EuroHealthNet’s IMMUNION and RIVER-EU projects will also support the sustainability of EU-JAV actions over the next two years, particularly in relation to ensuring access to vaccination for all (particularly underserved communities), and enhancing public confidence in vaccination.

Outreach visits

In 2020, EuroHealthNet continued to expand its network and explore opportunities for outreach work, focused both on current members, as well as prospective members and wider European networks. The interviews that EuroHealthNet conducted with members in Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Spain, in the context of the European Semester exercise provided an opportunity to gain a better contextual understanding of developments in those countries and members’ needs. Early in the year, EuroHealthNet was able to participate in an in-country meeting with National Public Health Center in Hungary and hosted visits from SOSTE (Finland) and LISER (Luxembourg) at the EuroHealthNet office, where we exchanged on current activities and explored ways to support one-another. Throughout the year, bilateral calls were held with a number of member and prospective member organisations, including IPH (Ireland), PHAROS (Netherlands), NIJZ (Slovenia), Egas Moniz (Portugal), Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), Nederlandse GGZ, and the National Institute for Public Health (Poland).

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