6 July, Bad Hofgastein, Austria – “Demographics and Diversity in Europe – New Solutions for Health” is the theme of European Health Forum Gastein 2016 (EHFG www.ehfg.org), 28-30 September in Bad Hofgastein, Austria.
This year, the conference welcomes upcoming Presidencies of the European Council — the Minister of Health of Slovakia and the Minister of Health of Malta — to outline the future of Member State cooperation on health. Keynote remarks will be provided by European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics Paul Krugman.
Life expectancy reaching a new high, changing fertility patterns, and internal and external migration are just some of the phenomena of demographic change currently experienced in Europe. These exert different pressures on health systems. Over three days of presentations and workshops, participants at the EHFG2016 will explore how to turn these challenges into opportunities for sustainable solutions. New topics announced in the conference programme include antimicrobial resistance, healthy ageing and the UK vote to leave the European Union.
Professor Krugman’s address to EHFG will take a bird’s eye perspective on the economics of ageing, and the degree to which demography may aggravate macroeconomic and governance challenges.
“Low fertility looks increasingly central to the economic and governing problems of advanced countries, especially in Europe,” states Professor Krugman. “Demography seems to be causing trouble on two fronts: supporting health systems for the elderly and stagnation or decline in the working-age population. Considerations like these will provide the background against which EHFG 2016 aims to discuss the future of European health systems.”
The closing day of the conference welcomes an address by Commissioner Andriukaitis, who is expected to speak to the pressure of age-related diseases on health systems, as well as the role of the European Commission in coordinating improved access to health services. The Gastein Forum offers a unique platform to weigh up progress on these key fronts.
“Unprecedented demographic change and diversity in Europe demands of us new approaches to public health,” says Helmut Brand, EHFG President and Professor of European Public Health at Maastricht University. “This is why we are so pleased to welcome experts from such a variety of perspectives to Gastein – including national Ministries of Health, the World Health Organisation, Members of European Parliament, and a number of Directorate Generals of the European Commission. EHFG offers the space to learn from each other, and from there, to develop pragmatic and workable actions.”
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