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2014 EPHA Working Groups

EPHA Working Groups enable EPHA members to discuss regular public health-related issues of importance at an EU level. These Working Groups are composed of a mailing list and ’physical’ meetings. Participation from abroad will be facilitated through a teleconferencing system to allow members that would like to be more active but cannot travel to Brussels to join in the Working Groups. Please let the corresponding Working Group (WG) organiser know to which group you want to be (...)

eHealth: Building trust = access for everybody + demonstrated value in reducing health inequalities

On 14 January, MEPs voted on a resolution in support of the eHealth Action Plan (eHAP) 2012-2020, with the aim of improving healthcare for the benefit of patients, giving them more control of their care and bringing down healthcare costs through ICT: innovative and user-friendly eHealth and mHealth tools. While the benefits of ICT have been widely reported, what about the link between eHealth and health inequalities? Vice-President and Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes (...)

Health Inequalities: From ’dirty secret’ to central item on EU agenda

On 23 January, the ’Equity Action’ Final Conference was hosted by the European Commission, marking the end of the Joint Action on Health Inequalities and expressing hope and determination that this will the beginning of further coordinated action at all levels. EC Flash report: Health inequalities conference – Charlemagne conference centre 23 January 2014 Background Equity Action aims to reduce health inequalities by helping to improve policies at national and regional (...)

Public procurement: Better quality services or short term savings?

On 15 January, the European Parliament voted in plenary to endorse the new EU rules on public procurement. The awarding of public contracts may from now on take into account social and environmental considerations, as well as innovation criteria, but does this really mean that Europeans will benefit from quality services that meet their needs? European Parliament MEPs voted in favour of the public procurement and awarding of concessions directives, as agreed in June 2013 at the Council of (...)

European Commission report reveals unmet flu vaccination targets

A new European Commisssion report published in January 2014 uncovers that most EU countries are falling short of flu vaccination targets. Of 18 Member States that provided data on seasonal influenza vaccination, only one managed to reach the target for the older age priority group; moreover, data was scarce for other priority groups. A number of barriers identified in the report indicate the need for further reflection and discussion of seasonal flu vaccination involving all stakeholders (...)

[Joint Statement] Civil Society Commitment on Health Workers

The third Global Forum on Human Resources for Health (HRH) took place in Recife, Brazil on 10-13 November. A number of prominent civil society organisations including EPHA and its member organisation Wemos have signed a Joint Statement, ’’No Progress towards Universal Health without Health Workers’’ as a commitment to improve accountability for tackling the global HRH crisis. The health workforce crisis remains a core barrier to achieving the Millennium Development (...)

[European Roma Information Office (ERIO) Seminar] Roma Integration: the Role of Local Authorities

The European Roma Information Office (ERIO) organised a seminar on 24 October that highlighted the important role that local authorities play in putting into action Roma integration measures given they are dealing with real people in dynamic and diverse communities. As a way to improve the integration of the 10-12 million Roma across Europe, in 2011 the European Commission adopted an EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies up to 2020. This resulted in Member State (...)

[EU-US trade agreement] Would it benefit Europe’s public health?

In late October, EPHA attended a Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue’s (TACD) event intended to debate the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and US and whether and how it is to benefit the consumers on both sides of the Atlantic. The event brought up a number of crucial considerations to be looked into what relate to public health issues. In a nutshell, this seminar stressed that the TTIP is mostly a drive towards de-regulation and a (...)

Are EU Member States ready for cross-border healthcare?

The transposition period for the Cross-border Healthcare Directive came to an end on 25 October, however it has been reported that many Member States are not prepared and have not set up vital information and control resources. An article published on Euractiv on 24 October revealed that some EU countries are falling so far behind that it could take years for them to fully comply with the new EU legislation and create the required control centres and information websites. Such Member (...)

Potential ban of HIV self-testing kits caused a stir prior to IVD Medical Devices vote

Prior to the European Parliament vote on In Vitro Diagnostic Medical Devices, concerns have been voiced surrounding Amendment 40 and the potential ban of self-testing kits, such as those for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as this would reduce vital additional testing opportunities for people. In September 2012, the European Commission launched a renewed legislative package for medical devices and In Vitro diagnostic medical devices. The procedure is now approaching (...)