are the chances to epidemiological intelligence?
When thinking about the usage of data in a
health context, what is your first association? Is it Google and other ‘data
leeches‘ of the GAFA-kind (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon)? Linked to that, is
it concerns such as data privacy, data security? A lack of standards? The fear
that the internet has the memory of an elephant and never forgets the
information it has received?
Let’s assume that ongoing discussions and
public awareness of the potential of data analysis have improved the reputation
of Big Data and that there might be other associations such as „Opportunity!“
„Prevention!“ „Efficiency!“ or „Quality“ come up to your mind when hearing the
With this in mind, panellists at EHFG session
about epidemiology meeting Big Data
showcased some excellent examples on how data might actually advance public
health questions in the broader context of epidemiology.
Climate change seems to be buzzing these days and this afternoon’s plenary session, which also officially closed this year’s Gastein Forum, was another moment to properly address this issue. Just last week, leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit boosted climate action momentum, demonstrating recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated. And 65 countries committed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, while 70 countries announced they will either boost their national action plans by 2020 or have started the process of doing so.
But haven’t we been pledging these goals and recognizing
the problem for the past years? Aren’t we already reaping what we’ve been
sewing? And what’s health got to do with it?
Andy Haines, Professor of Public Health at London School
of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine joined the Plenary via Skype (giving a
great do-what-you-preach example reducing greatly his personal carbon
footprint) and briefly presented us the evidence of what are the ongoing effects
of climate change on Health. Professor Andy Haines categorized these effects into
direct effects, indirect effects and climate effects mediated through social
There were many take home messages from this session at the EHFG 2019, but to just state one would be very unfair. What was apparent, however, was that the development of a European cancer plan is desired, but we probably won’t see such a document anytime soon. Peter O’Donnell kicked off the session by outlining the agenda vocalising that a European cancer plan is European and not national. He outlined the need for key performance indicators (KPIs) in this area. Nils Wilking, Associate Professor, Institute of Health Economics, Karolinska Institutet, quickly followed presenting his comparison report on “Cancer in Europe 2019 – Disease Burden, Costs and Access to Medicines”. This will be available on the Karolinska Institutet website in November 2019 for those of you who are interested. Surprisingly, Nils reported that 42 – 45% of all cancers are preventable and that all EU countries roughly spend the same percentage of their healthcare budget expenditure on cancer medicines.
“No one should have to choose between healthcare and other basic needs” – this essential message was delivered by Tamás Evetovits, Head of the WHO Barcelona Office for Health Systems Strengthening, WHO Regional Office for Europe, in this afternoon workshop organised by World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Office for Europe and moderated by the witty Prof. Charles Normand.
After an indulgent jampacked and fruitful three days absorbing all things related tohealth policy at the European Health Forum in Gastein, this session allowed conference attendees to ingest the current issues regarding food policy in Europe and digest what this means for our public health and wellbeing.