Statement by Commissioner Andriukaitis on the World Hepatitis Day

July 28th 2019 marked World Hepatitis Day.

Each year on this day, we have an opportunity to reflect how far we have come on the path to eliminating hepatitis globally, but also, to think how much more needs to be done to achieve this goal by 2030. ‘Invest in eliminating hepatitis’, this year’s theme could not be more timely in encouraging us all to set a clear direction for investment to ensure long-term, patient-focused results can be reached.

It saddens me to see the large number of people still living in the EU/EEA with Hepatitis B – which is preventable, and Hepatitis C – which is both preventable and curable. The figures are overwhelming – an estimated 4.7 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis B, 3.9 million with hepatitis C, and we lose more lives to Hepatitis B and C than HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined. How in 2019 can this be? How can it be that unimaginable suffering and stigma is endured by so many in Europe, and precious lives lost?

To read this statement in full go to: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-19-4771_en.htm

Beware of the sun! Dermatologists share sunscreen tips as Europe copes with heatwave

As Europeans cope with a record heatwave suffocating much of the continent, the importance of sun protection cannot be overstated.

Why should we be careful? How to choose and apply sunscreen properly? Euronews gathered a few tips from dermatologists.

There is no such a thing as a healthy tan, dermatologists say.

“A tan is actually a sign that our skin has been harmed by UV radiation and is trying to defend itself against further damage. This kind of damage can, in turn, increase your risk of developing skin cancer,” the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) warns.

There were over 140,000 new cases of melanoma of the skin across Europe In 2018, according to the Global Cancer Observatory, a majority of which is due to extensive sun exposure.

“In more than four out of five cases skin cancer is a preventable disease,” BAD said.

To read more about this, go to: https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/30/beware-of-the-sun-dermatologists-share-sunscreen-tips-as-europe-copes-with-heatwave

A new PATH to perinatal mental health

Our recently funded Interreg 2Seas project PATH is aiming to enable women, families, healthcare professionals, and employers to prevent, diagnose and successfully manage mild and moderate perinatal mental health issues, leading to happier and healthier families. This year’s focus for the EuroHealthNet magazine is ‘Children and Young People’ and an article all about PATH has been published in the latest edition of the magazine, to read it in full go to: http://eurohealthnet-magazine.eu/a-new-path-to-perinatal-mental-health/

How much exercise do you do in a week?

Around 28 % of the European Union (EU) population aged 16 or over did not do any exercise outside working time in 2017, in contrast with the rest of the EU population, who undertook some form of sports, fitness or recreational activities in their leisure time.

In a typical week, just over one quarter (27 %) of the EU population exercised for up to 3 hours, 17 % for between 3 and 5 hours and 28 % for 5 hours or more.

Source: How much exercise do you do in a week? – Product – Eurostat

Hundreds of brands across EU ‘breaking’ bloc’s chemical safety rule

Companies producing food, medicine, cosmetics and plastic across Europe are breaking EU legislation not completing important safety checks when using millions of tonnes of chemicals in production, an analysis has found.

This has been going on for years but was only recently discovered thanks to German government files, which environmental group BUND obtained.

The companies failed to report whether these chemicals are harmful to unborn babies or cancerous, or pose a threat to the environment.

As many as 12 to 121 million tonnes of the 41 different chemicals concerned are used in Europe every year. They can be found in customer and industrial products, including medicines, food contacts (such as packaging) and toys.

To read more about this go to: https://www.euronews.com/2019/05/22/hundreds-of-brands-across-eu-breaking-bloc-s-chemical-safety-rules

Alice Chapman-Hatchett: The future of health research in Europe—three visions for 2029

In May the European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) travelled to London to discuss what the world of health research will look like 10 years from now. The event showcased a recently published report Research Futures, which looked at how research will be created and exchanged in a decade’s time, and started setting the scene for the main theme of this year’s Gastein Forum: disruptive change.

The report details three potential scenarios for health research in 2029. We have a brave open world, where state funders and philanthropic organisations have joined forces to collaborate and publish research via open access platforms, harnessing advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and technology to produce a joined-up approach. Next is tech titans, where industry and philanthropic foundations are the principal research funders, machine learning and AI advances are leading to a substantial proportion of research being carried out by machines, and few global shared solutions are emerging. The third scenario, eastern ascendance, envisions a future in which the volume of China’s public investment in research and development has made the East a magnet for international researchers. In this world, nations are working in isolation and international alignment on tackling global societal problems is proving difficult.

To read this article in full, go to: https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2019/05/10/alice-chapman-hatchett-future-health-research-europe-three-visions-2029/

What are the European Union political parties planning for your health?

The EUPHA (European Public Health Association) statement ‘What are the European Union political parties planning for your health?’ is a response to the European Union parties’ manifestos. The manifestos of the political parties seem not to prioritise health. Read the full analysis of the manifestos and calls for action in the EUPHA statement: https://eupha.org/repository/advocacy/EUPHA_statement_What_are_the_European_Union_political_parties_planning_for_your_health.pdf

Europeans’ attitudes towards vaccination

While vaccination policy is a competence of national authorities, the EU plays a role in coordinating policies and programmes in this area. In response to the threat to public health posed by outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, the EU is taking action to strengthen cooperation. The survey asks questions about:

  • Europeans’ perceptions of vaccine-preventable diseases and of the perceived effectiveness of vaccines,
  • Europeans’ experiences with vaccination,
  • levels of Europeans’ knowledge about the effects of vaccines,
  • attitudes regarding the importance of vaccinations,
  • Europeans’ sources of information about vaccines and the extent to which they trust them.

This survey was carried out by the Kantar network in the 28 EU Member States between the 15th and 29th of March 2019. Some 27,524 respondents from different social and demographic groups were interviewed face-to-face at home in their mother tongue.

In 17 of the 28 Member States the disease most frequently thought to be still causing deaths is the flu. In Cyprus (84%), France (85%) and Greece (87%), over eight in ten respondents mention this, around double the proportion of those who mention it in Poland (44%), where it is nevertheless still the most common response. In seven countries less than half of the respondents mention the flu, but this ranges from nearly half (49%) of the respondents in Austria to less than a fifth (15%) of the respondents in Italy. Only in Italy the flu is not among the top three responses.

To read more about this and the report in full, go to: http://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/special/surveyky/2223

News from the Interreg 2Seas mid-term review event in Ghent

On the 25th and 26th of April 2019, the Health and Europe Centre attended the Interreg 2Seas mid-term review event in Ghent, Belgium. We are currently lead partner on 6 of the 15 approved projects in the social innovation category, so the event was a great opportunity to showcase our work and learn about the other projects. It was an excellent event with the highlight being our CASCADE project’s video winning third prize in the project video awards.

To watch the video go to: https://youtu.be/wui8rgPwmgk and to read more about any of our projects go to: http://www.healthandeuropecentre.nhs.uk/home-3/projects/current-projects-2/