“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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Nutrition policy – regulation is protection (and not punishment)

The theme of the European Health Forum Gastein 2019 was ‘A healthy dose of disruption? Transformative change for health and societal well-being’. Right after the Friday lunch session ‘We are what we eat – the power of a healthy gut and disruptive nutrition policies’, Young Gasteiners Camilla Hende (Scientific Officer at The Norwegian Medicines Agency, Norway) and Joreintje Mackenbach (Assistant Professor at Amsterdam UMC – Vrije Universiteit, the Netherlands) interviewed Nikolai Pushkarev who leads EPHA’s Food, Drink, and Agriculture campaign which advocates for evidence-based policies to reshape the European food system towards better health and well-being. The lunch session reflected on the ways in which an unhealthy diet influences our gut health and other chronic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, alternatives for antibiotics that do not harm our gut, Israel’s reform of their nutrition policies, and Nikolai Pushkarev’s views on where European nutrition policies should head off to.

Interview with Nikolai Pushkarev, policy coordinator for Food, Drink, and Agriculture at the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA)

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The importance of stepping out of your comfort zone

Interview with Dr Hanna Tolonen (Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare)

In the framework of the EHFG 2019 workshop on ‘Facts. Figures! Fiction?’ Hanna Tolonen introduced the EU-funded INFACT project, which attempts to streamline health information activities across Europe. I spoke with her about the challenges of establishing sustainable systems in the age of technological revolution, priorities of European public health, and key lessons Young Gasteiners should take away from the European Health Forum Gastein.

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