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Tuesday 01 December 2015
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  Latest Public Health News from Europe

Investing in public health is an economic win-win

Tobacco use reduces overall national income by 3.6%. 

Obesity accounts for 1–3% of all health expenditure in most countries. 

These and other surprising facts came to light in a report published by WHO/Europe on the long- and short-term effects of a country's health status on its financial and economic situation. 

"The case for investing in public health" describes the direct impact of health on other areas of government throughout the WHO European   Region, and shows very clearly that investing in public health leads to sustainable growth. 

The case for investing in public health includes the significant current costs of ill health for governments in Europe and the investments that can result in sustainable, positive growth in a country. 

Cost-effective interventions include preventive approaches to the environmental and social determinants of health; such approaches build resilience in communities and promote healthy behaviour in the population, including attendance at screening and vaccination. 

The report also outlines the cost of health inequalities and the financial loss that can occur if health threats are not addressed proactively. For example, cancer costs governments and society in the European Union €117 billion per year. 

Action on its findings could result in greater cross-sectoral collaboration for health, bring about better fiscal efficiency and enhance the general well-being of individuals in the European Region.

To download the report, click here

Strategies for recruiting health staff

The European Commission has commissioned a study:

Recruitment and Retention of the Health Workforce which aims to identify and analyse effective strategies for recruiting and retaining health professionals.

The study recognises recruitment and retention of health workers as an immediate and urgent problem which needs to be addressed by policy-makers, healthcare managers and healthcare workers. It identifies a number of success factors which are particularly relevant for specific types of recruitment and retention interventions and which could help governments and health organisations to attract and retain healthcare staff. These include education opportunities, financial incentives and professional and personal support.

To read the study, click here

An opportunity for an intern:


We have been contacted by Tomas Radišauskas, a student from Vilnius University who is in the final year of his Master’s degree in Public Health.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in teaching Healthy Lifestyles and is looking for an internship for this autumn.

He is particularly interested in physical activity and healthy diets and would be able to work for   between 2-6 months, starting at the beginning of September.

He will be eligible for an Erasmus + scholarship and would like to hear from anyone who could   offer him the opportunity to use his skills and experience in the fields of Public Health in general or Healthy Lifestyles in particular.

If you would like to know more about Tomas and what he can offer your organisation, please look at his CV and covering letter.

To read his CV, click here

To read his covering letter, click here



Empowering Patients through eHealth:

 the European Evidence


The PALANTE ("PAtients Leading and mANaging their healThcare through EHealth") project consortium is organising the Final Conference "Empowering Patients through eHealth: the European Evidence" on Tuesday 23 June 2015 at the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, Belgium.

Funded under the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, the PALANTE Project focuses on the implementation of nine demonstration pilots based on the concept of secure and user-friendly online access by patients to their medical and health data. The Final Conference will gather a wide range of policy makers, health managers and health professionals who want to access first-hand knowledge on the impact of the different functionalities analysed as patient empowerment drivers. Participants will discuss the challenges and opportunities for implementing eHealth solutions in Europe’s regions, and involvement of all stakeholders in the implementation process.

A Call for Abstracts will be announced in the coming weeks.

 For further information about PALANTE Project, please click here.

How to empower people to manage their own health

In the context of population ageing and economic pressures, improving older people’s knowledge and skills in healthy lifestyles, managing diseases and navigating their way through the health system, is crucial.

This ‘health literacy’ is the subject of a European project: “Intervention Research on Health Literacy among Ageing Population” (IROHLA) which is taking stock of on-going health literacy programmes and projects. It makes use of knowledge and experience of programmes in other areas such as the private and social sectors and applies it to the health sector.

IROHLA identifies, validates and presents a set of best interventions, which together constitute a comprehensive approach to addressing the health literacy needs of the ageing population in European countries. These interventions will be part of evidence-based guidelines for policy and practice for local, regional and national government authorities.

The final conference of the IROHLA project will take place in Brussels on 17th November 2015. 

 For more information about the project, go to the irohla website


Plain tobacco packaging encourages more people

to stop smoking and fewer to start


There is evidence confirming the effectiveness of plain packaging measures in smoking prevention and cessation. Consumers perceive such packaging to be ugly and dull and it decreases the attractiveness of tobacco products and smoking - especially to young people and women.


According to information disclosed by the tobacco industry in the context of a Minnesota lawsuit of 1987, when smokers were offered their usual cigarettes at half price - in generic brown boxes  -  only 21% were interested. The reason, in the view of the industry, was that packaging makes a statement about the consumer, who is deeply affected by how they are perceived by others.


The new Tobacco Products Directive adopted by the European Union in March 2014 will enter into force in 2016, making it possible for Member States to adopt plain packaging measures at the national level. 


For more information, click here



Public Health in the EU: state-of-play and key policy challenges

 A number of developments are changing the public health landscape in Europe. These include demographic changes and the impact of the economic crisis on health budgets, particularly those related to prevention and health promotion. While EU public health policy complements national policies, it encourages cooperation across countries and facilitates coordination. Particularly, EU public health policy generates economies of scale by pooling resources to tackle common challenges, such as pandemics or the risk factors associated with chronic diseases.

This report provides a snapshot and illustrative examples of issues that are currently on the EU policy agenda. It includes an overview of current challenges, and sets out how these are being addressed through the EU institutional frameworks, its legislation and policy programmes.

The report is available by clicking this link


      EU consumers to benefit from better labeling

New food labeling rules have come into effect that will ensure consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content.

The key changes in labeling include:

  •  Improved legibility of information (minimum font size for mandatory information);
  • Clearer and harmonised presentation of allergens such as soy, nuts, gluten or lactose for prepacked foods
  • Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including in restaurants and cafes;
  • Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry;
  • Same labelling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop;
  • List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients.
  • Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats;
  • Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices;
  • Indication of substitute ingredient for 'Imitation' foods;
  • Clear indication of "formed meat" or "formed fish"; and
  • Clear indication of defrosted products.

For more information, click here


   Did you know?

Drugs policy and the city in Europe

A paper from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction explores illicit drug problems and responses and the different forms they can take in city environments.

It addresses four areas: urban spaces and drug use, responses to city-level drug problems,  city-level drugs strategies, and the coordination and funding of city-level policies.

To download the paper, click here


This is the newsletter for the Integrated Care Pioneer Programme.
The latest issue features Kent personnel talking about the innovative work being done to integrate care for the benefit of citizens.
To read this issue, and access previous issues, go to:



Mexican sugar clinics reduce annual cost of diabetes care by 70%

Four out of every five people with diabetes live in the developing world according to the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF). Clínicas del Azúcar is a Mexican chain of diabetes one-stop-shops that reduce the cost of care by 70%.

For more information (in Spanish), go to the Clinicas website

Great Minders
, an online crowdsourcing service that puts senior individuals in touch with carers and companions, has just been launched in the UK, to help with the growing demand for home-based elderly care services.

Nurse revalidation – an international perspective

The Royal College of Nursing, Policy and International Department has produced a policy briefing paper comparing international systems for nurse revalidation.

The department looked at the situation in Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy and Slovakia and this paper includes an easy-to-read table of comparisons as well as suggestions for improving the revalidation process in the UK.

To read the briefing paper, clickhere

Mobile clinics in Ukraine bring health services to people in need

There were over 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine by the end of 2014 and in response, WHO, the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Red Cross Society will be establishing mobile, community-based health services from January 2015.

This network of mobile emergency primary health care units will support the fragile health care system in delivering health services for IDPs, receiving communities and communities in conflict areas.