The NDPHS held a ministerial-level conference

Berlin, Germany – 20th of November 2015, Ms. Annette Widmann-Mauz, Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Health, hosted and chaired the 11th annual conference of the Northern Dimension Partnership in Public Health and Social Well-being, NDPHS. The event was attended by ministers responsible for health and social affairs and other high representatives of countries and organisations being members of the NDPHS.

Since the main social well-being and health related challenges faced by the Partner Countries are the same and given the multitude and character of these challenges, profound regional cooperation and regional engagement are essential for both an effective response to the challenges as well as ensuring long-term stability and economic development of the countries and the region as a whole – was one of the conclusions of the event.

Having the latter in mind, the participants noted with satisfaction the recently adopted new NDPHS Strategy 2020 and its Action Plan, which will guide the NDPHS members in their joint efforts to address the prioritised regional challenges. The following expert groups have recently been established to tackle these challenges: on antimicrobial resistance (AMR); alcohol and substance abuse; HIV, TB and associated infections; non-communicable diseases; occupational safety and health; prison health; and primary health care.

The outcome of the Partnership Annual Conference side-event held the day before, namely the conference “From strategies to action – Addressing the challenges of AMR in the Northern Dimension area,” was also discussed. The growing AMR in pathogens was noted with big concern. It is an increasing global health problem and a challenge to the societies. The participants agreed that there is a need to increase the knowledge and understanding of the AMR problems both in the health care sector and in the public at large. To that end, while welcoming the on-going NDPHS project “Northern Dimension Antibiotic Resistance Study (NoDARS),” they adopted the NDPHS Declaration “From strategies to action – how to tackle the challenges of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in the Northern Dimension area.”

Discussions also revolved around the issues of the importance of health and social well-being for the economy and other policy areas. In particular, the participants noted the direct and indirect costs associated with ill health, the impact of poor health and unfavourable social background on economic processes and examples of health policies and their impact on the economy. It was emphasised that investment in health is not only about containing future health care and social welfare costs, but also an investment in economic growth.

For further information, please visit the NDPHS website.