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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Speech by Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis at the European Health Forum Gastein: Global perspectives on Health in all Politics

Gastein, 6 October 2017

I am very pleased to be back in Gastein for the fifth time.

I am delighted that this year's theme is 'health in all politics'. Our aim must be to get all policies, all Ministers, all stakeholders, at all levels, to contribute to keeping people in good health. Education, marketing, taxation, urban planning can all help foster healthy living.

It is in this spirit that last month, in Estonia, I signed the "Tartu call for healthy lifestyles" together with the European Commissioners for sports and for agriculture. Plus our action Plan to fight AMR of this summer is a good example of health on all politics, bringing together human health, animal health, research and environment.

Back to healthy lifestyles, eating well or exercising is not something that all Europeans can afford. We need targeted measures for vulnerable people. The Commission is helping Member States implement good practices in supporting vulnerable groups and shaping a joint action on inequalities.

Global Health is another issue on the Gastein agenda this year. I hope to seize on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to raise the profile of global health. The Commission supports partner countries in building strong, good-quality and resilient health systems, towards universal access to healthcare, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

We continue to invest in global funds aimed at preventing and treating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and hepatitis in developing countries. We ensure that health and food safety concerns are integrated in multilateral and bilateral trade agreements; and the EU Action Plan on AMR I mentioned earlier has a key focus on "shaping the global agenda.

One issue of great concern to me is that in Europe and around the world children are still dying of diseases that could be prevented through vaccination. We must increase vaccination coverage – to do this we need both a global approach and a health in all policies approach, together with education, research and social policies.

I have two announcements on EU action on vaccination.

First, the Commission is preparing an initiative to support vaccination, which we will present next year, to support Member States in increasing vaccination coverage, fighting vaccine hesitancy and addressing problems with vaccine supply and production.

Second, in May I announced that the EU Health Award 2017 would be dedicated to NGOs' initiatives that ensure high vaccination coverage in the EU. Today, I have the honour to announce the 10 NGOs who are on the shortlist. They are, in alphabetical order:

Vaccine Prophylaxis Through Health Mediation In Roma Community by the Association National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM)

Increasing Healthcare Workers' uptake of seasonal influenza vaccination in a tertiary pediatric hospital in Greece with a 3-step, tailor-made multifaceted strategy by the Collaborative Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research (CLEO)

The Life Course Immunisation Initiative by the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO)

EPSA Vaccination Awareness Public Health Campaign 2016 by the European Pharmaceutical Students' Association (EPSA)

Hepatitis B vaccination for sex workers in Flanders by GHAPRO vzw

Vaccination program for senior citizens by KBO-PCOB

Community Awareness Programme on Vaccination by the Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre

Vaccine Advocacy/National awareness and education campaign on the benefits of vaccination and the risks of non-vaccination by the Romanian Association for Education In Family Medicine (AREPMF)

Project Immuno by SloMSIC Ljubljana

A Mobile Application Prevention: availability of vaccines and access to sustainable immunisation services by the Vienna Vaccine Safety Initiative Think Tank

Vaccines are one of the safest and most cost-effective ways to ensure public health and avoid preventable disease. It is therefore my great honour to announce this shortlist of excellent initiatives.

I will give the award for the three top prizes during the EU Health Policy Platform Meeting on 27 November 2017, but from my point of view, all of these 10 NGOs are already winners.

 

SPEECH/17/3744

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