Infectious disease epidemiology – the Danish experience

During the 22nd EHFG, Young Gasteiners Durdica Vukic Marosevic and Bélène Podmore had the opportunity to sit down with Tyra Grove Krause, the Head of Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention at Statens Serum Institute (SSI) in Denmark. The main duty of SSI is to ensure preparedness against infectious diseases and biological threats as well as control of congenital disorders. This includes research with over 400 publications a year, disease surveillance, special diagnostics, the maintenance of the Danish National Biobank, as well as the responsibility for vaccine supply in Denmark. They wanted to get some insights on how the Danish surveillance system for infectious diseases works, whether the Danish colleagues use big data and – following the theme of the 2019 EHFG conference – what Tyra perceived disruption to be.

Tyra Grove Krause, the Head of Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Prevention at Statens Serum Institute (SSI), Denmark
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Let’s fight vaccine hesitancy: an urgent public health emergency

Even though the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared that “immunization is one of modern medicine’s greatest success stories” with around 2 to 3 million deaths prevented every year, in 2019 WHO rated vaccine hesitancy as one of the 10 biggest threats to global health worldwide. The session on Vaccine Ecosystems Health Check was a stimulating thought-provoking discussion in which experts from different backgrounds discussed the complexity of the vaccine ecosystem, the challenges and the need for collaboration. The moderator of the session, Natasha Azzopardi Muscat, president of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA), consultant in public health and senior lecturer at the University of Malta shared with us her experience and insights after the session.

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“Our main task is to ensure that we do not pose questions to patients that are actually unethical to ask”

Anja Schiel is a Senior Adviser & Statistician at the Unit for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Reimbursement, Norwegian Medicines Agency (NoMA). At the EHFG, she gave her perspective on “Making real world data real” during a workshop under the same title about improving regulatory approval of new therapies.

According to the World Health Organization, HTA is the systematic evaluation of properties, effects, and/or impacts of health technology. It is a multidisciplinary process to evaluate the social, economic, organisational and ethical issues of a health intervention or health technology. The main purpose of conducting an assessment is to inform policy decision making.

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“We need a Greta!” Talking about European alcohol policies.

As the Director of the Division of Non-communicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course, Bente Mikkelsen focuses her work on achieving the SDGs through the reduction of premature deaths from NCDs by one third before 2030, promoting health, and through impacting at country level in the context of the WHO General Programme of Work. WHO co-hosted the session “European alcohol policies – rethinking and strengthening implementation” at the European Health Forum Gastein 2019, which was organised together with EHFG, EU-HEM, MCI Management Center Innsbruck, IOGT-NTO and International Youth Health Organization, and supported by the Republic of Slovenia.

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Improving patients’ quality of life and addressing unmet needs: How can medicinal cannabis help?

Patient expert Paola Kruger contributed to the event “Medicinal use of cannabis and cannabinoids: is the grass always greener?” that took place during the 2019 European Health Forum Gastein, bringing the patient perspective on this important issue. 

Paola Kruger, Patient Expert, European Patients’ Academy – EUPATI Italia

AC: First of all, for those who aren’t familiar with your organisation yet, could you briefly explain what EUPATI is?

PK: EUPATI started as an Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) project several years ago and is currently run by the European Patients’ Forum. In a nutshell, the aim of EUPATI is to train patients in the R&D of medicines in order to bring their expertise of the disease into the development of medicines in a meaningful way.

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