Interview with Prof. Jeffrey Lazarus, session Nobody left behind

Prof. Lazarus’ decade-long career as a health systems, HIV and viral hepatitis expert at WHO’s Regional Office for Europe was followed by three years at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He now serves as the Board Chair of AFEW International, a board member of the EASL International Liver Foundation, a steering committee member of the European Joint Action on HIV and Coinfections, as editor of Hepatology, Medicine and Policy and a member of the BioMed Central Editorial Advisory Group. He is the author of more than 200 publications.

Professor Lazarus is an affiliated professor at CHIP, WHO Collaborating Centre on HIV and Viral Hepatitis at Rigshospitalet, the University of Copenhagen, and an associated researcher at ISGlobal, Hospital Clínic, University of Barcelona.

Q: Mr. Lazarus, can you please tell us what is your position and main occupation?

JL: I am a researcher specialized on infectious diseases, specifically in HIV and viral HEP C and health systems. I work at the university of Copenhagen but also for the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal). Continue reading

Interview with Clive Needle

“And only if we can listen to each other and understand and learn from each other, bring those things together, then we will make the societal progress to tackle the health inequalities.”

Interview with Clive Needle, Senior Policy Advisor, EuroHealtNet
after the Forum on Health Inequalities with the lecture of Sir Michael Marmot

We are talking after a very important session on the topic that has been discussed for years – health inequalities. However, despite the discussions, the health inequalities are growing around the Europe. What do you think is the reason, and what can we do about it?

CN: It is a mix of factors, it is obviously a complex set of issues that you put together, it is like building a jigsaw. A part of that is lack of political will, but I think it is too easy to put all the blame on the politicians. Political is personal, which means we can all do something, we should all take the responsibility to break down that complexity.

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Interview with Corinna Hawkes

Corinna Hawkes, Professor of Food Policy, Director, Centre for Food Policy, University of London City

Professor Hawkes, you have talked in the session about the different barriers that we face when trying to make food systems healthier, would you be able to mention some examples?

CH: If we want to have better health, we need better diets, and this can only be achieved through creating better food systems. There are many barriers towards this aim, but there are also a lot of opportunities.

One of the major barriers is the economic incentives that exist in the food industry. These economic incentives make companies compete with each other to sell more products and increase profit margins. So, if unhealthy foods are profitable, they are going to be produced. On the other hand, products which are less profitable have less presence in the market. Continue reading

Interview with Robert Barouki

Dr. Barouki, or how I learned to start worrying about the Exposome and love hard science
Three Young Gasteiners (Francesco Florindi, Vladimir S. Gordeev and Dimitra Panteli) talked to Robert Barouki, following his presentation during the one of the environmental health  sessions of the European Health Forum Gastein 2017 (Forum 9, Environment & Health: “Building the evidence base for policy”, Part 2 – The Future). Dr. Barouki is the Head of the Toxicology, Pharmacology and Cellular Signaling Unit at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Université Paris Descartes.

YG: Exposome…If you wanted to explain it very simply, to someone who has no previous knowledge at all, how would you do that?
RB: The definition is, in fact, quite simple: it’s the totality of exposures that we encounter over our lifetime that can influence our well-being and health. And what we mean by “exposure” is diverse: it’s exposure to chemicals, physical elements like radiation, for example, or biologics. But it’s also exposure to societal, economic or psychological factors – for instance, if you have grown up in poverty, or in a family with many problems, that’s also an exposure. So, you have to take exposure in a wide sense, and [the exposome] is the totality and combination of these exposures over your entire lifetime. Also, as we know now from a number of studies, that even that what happens to you during your fetal life, in utero, can influence your overall well-being and health. There are, of course, many more studies going on examining the correlation of these parameters… it’s a very exciting field of research! Continue reading

Interview with Matthias Wismar (F12)

Background: the interview followed the EHFG2017 session on the role of civil society organisations (CSOs) for health. Here Matthias Wismar, who is the senior health policy analyst at the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, and a co-editor of the recent analytical study “Civil Society and Health: Contribution and Potential”, shares his reflections from the session and key highlights from the book.  

You are a co-editor of the Observatory’s recent book on civil society and health, which is now available online. Could you tell us a bit more about the context in which the book was born?

MW: The book was commissioned by the WHO because major stakeholders today agree that we need civil society in health care – there are certain tasks only civil society can provide, whether it is service delivery or policy input. In some countries, civil society organizations (CSOs) are running hospitals, they provide services to the deprived, marginalized people. They have a lot of credibility and intimate knowledge of their constituencies, so it is clear that governments need to work with the civil society. But across Europe, there is no agreement on what the definition of civil society is and how to deal with it, nor what its contribution should be. The WHO has its own framework and definition, and the European Commission in the Health Policy Forum has a different one, tailored to their respective needs. So, the idea of this book was to do develop a relatively simple definition of civil society, and to map civil society organizations in health and their activities. Continue reading