EU Health AwardsOn 27th of November, TBEC Secretariat was invited to attend the second annual meeting of EU Health Policy Platform members in Brussels. The EU Health Policy platform provides an opportunity for various EU health stakeholders from civil society organisations to research centres and healthcare professionals to engage with the European Commission on various EU health initiatives. The meeting was divided in two parts, with the morning session providing detailed overview of key EU health initiatives and the afternoon session on awarding the EU Health Award. TBEC had an opportunity for networking with key EC stakeholders and create some new linkages to other civil society organisations present at the meeting.

One of the most interesting EU initiatives presented at the meeting concerned Country Health profiles of the EU member states. The Profiles provide a snapshot of each country’s population’s state of health and key risk factors for their national health systems in terms of effectiveness, accessibility and resilience. In practical terms, you can quickly compare how much your national government is spending on health in comparison to other EU MS and if it makes any difference on the population’s well-being. For example, the differences in healthcare spending in Estonia and Lithuania are tiny, however, the difference in amenable mortality rates is significant, which would most likely signify systematic challenges in Lithuanian healthcare. The Profiles offers you an insight in good, bad and ugly of each national healthcare system. It can be used as a great advocacy tool when reaching to your national MPs and government officials to discuss much needed reforms in healthcare system.

The EU Health Award is awarded to NGOs each year since 2015. Each year the topic is chosen by the European Commission, and often is the most topical healthcare issue at the time (Ebola in 2015 and AMR in 2016). This year, the Commission looked at the initiatives in the field of vaccinations – countering growing vaccine hesitancy, proving more information and raising awareness of the benefits of vaccinations, engaging health care professionals, carrying out surveillance etc. The first prize is 20 000 EUR, aimed at encouraging the NGO to carry out their work at larger scale. The 2017 winner was Slovenian Medical student organisation on carrying out lectures on the benefits for the vaccinations to young parents, and high school students, as well as organising seasonal flu vaccinations. Each year the topic changes, so please keep an eye on the website to see if there are some opportunities coming up for TB NGOs in the EU.

by Anete Cook, TBEC Coordinator


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