The Annual Work Programme for 2016 of EPHA is drawn from the multiannual work programme 2015-2017 and builds on successes to date. EPHA’s activities in 2016 will continue to contribute to all four objectives of the Third Health Programme. EPHA has formally reviewed our Strategic Plan 2011-2015. We undertook a thorough consultation process involving Board members, Staff and the EPHA membership, and an analysis of EPHA’s operating environment, strengths and weaknesses. The EPHA membership formally approved the new Strategic Plan 2016-2020 at the Annual General Assembly on 4th September 2015. The Work Programme for 2016 reflects the revised strategy to define a clearer selection of priorities. This approach will enable EPHA to manage activities more effectively, encourage closer cooperation between members and across themes, and better monitor and evaluate our impact.EPHA’s overarching strategic objective remains: “To promote good health and wellbeing, to reduce disease and health inequalities in European policies and programmes”. Priorities selected are as follows:Under Aims 1 and 2 of the 3rdHP and EPHA Strategic Objective “Securing a Governance for Health Approach in Key EU Policies” (HiAP):- Agriculture and Food Policy including Alcohol, Tobacco and NCDs- EU Semester for Health- Healthy Trade Policy- Public Health and Research in the EU BudgetUnder Aims 3 and 4 of the 3rdHP and EPHA Strategic Objective “Strengthen EU Policies to Reduce Health Inequalities and Ensure Universal Access to Sustainable, Inclusive Health Systems”:- Universal and Fair Access to Medicines- Action on Antimicrobial Resistance- Inclusive E- and M-Health- HSPAEach of these areas has operational objectives, milestones, deliverables and impact indicators. The Work Programme 2016 also highlights organisational development objectives, particularly on cooperation with academia, communications and financial sustainability, which are priorities for 2016.
EPHA is a leading NGO alliance advocating for better health for everyone in Europe. EPHA has over 90 member groups, representing diverse civil society interests in all aspects of public health, including patients, health professionals, disease specific groups, organisations campaigning on health determinants and groups working with disadvantaged communities. Our joint mission is to bring together the public health community to provide thought leadership and facilitate change; to build public health capacity to deliver equitable solutions to European public health challenges, to improve health and reduce health inequalities.
EPHA’s overarching objective is to promote good health and wellbeing, to reduce disease and health inequalities in European policies and programmes.
EPHA’s strategic objectives 2016-2020 are aligned with the objectives of the 3rd EU Health Programme:
Secure a Governance for Health and Wellbeing approach in key European policies (HiAP)
• Contributes to 3HP objective 1: Promote health, prevent disease and foster supportive environments for healthy lifestyles
o Work programmes: Agriculture and food policy, including alcohol, tobacco and NCDs; EU Semester for Health; Healthy Trade policy; Public health and research in the EU budget.
• Contributes to 3HP objective 2: Protect citizens from serious cross-border health threats
o Work programmes: Action on antimicrobial resistance; Capacity building.
Strengthen European policies to reduce health inequalities and ensure universal access to sustainable and inclusive health systems
• Contributes to 3HP objective 3: Contribute to innovative, efficient and sustainable health systems
o Work programmes: Universal and fair access to medicines (incl HTA); Inclusive e- and m-health; Health Systems Performance Assessment; Public Health and research in the EU budget.
• Contributes to 3HP objective 4: Facilitate access to better and safer healthcare
o Work programmes: Universal and fair access to medicines (incl rare diseases); Action on antimicrobial resistance (and HAIs).
In addition to priority work themes selected by EPHA’s membership and described below, several cross-cutting issues are considered in all our work, including for example mental health, health workforce sustainability, data protection, children and youth, gender equality, tackling inequalities and ensuring health rights for people in vulnerable situations.
EPHA consistently supports civil society capacity-building in public health. Reduction of health inequalities across Europe is at the heart of all the work of the Alliance. Health in all Policies (HiAP), prevention-promotion-protection, reducing health inequalities and solidarity are central tenets of EPHA's multiannual workplan and are reflected in our approaches to working for HiAP inter alia in food systems, trade and economic governance policies. Decreasing health inequalities is a core value that we mainstream through all activities.
With regard to EPHA’s methods and means, we undertake many core activities as an Alliance across all work areas. Throughout 2016, we continued to:
• host monthly Policy Coordination Meetings (PCMs) with our members
• facilitate regular in-depth Working Group meetings on specific topics
• organize capacity-building seminars for our members and other civil society organisations
• host our flagship annual conference, in 2016 under the title: Resistance! Antibiotics, Politics and Public Health. Link: https://epha.org/epha-2016/
• organize EPHA’s Annual General Assembly, to review progress and plan with our membership, and to take decisions as the main governance body
• monthly meetings of our governing Board, representing the membership, including at least 4x face-to-face meetings per year
• provide regular policy updates across all health-relevant policy areas, via our internal and external communications tools, including:
o website, articles and blog
o monthly newsletter,
o thematic news feeds,
o conferences, workshops and seminars,
o briefings for members,
o press work
• offer capacity building opportunities, including
o Professional Development Programme trainings for members,
o our Roma Health Fellowship programme for Roma health advocates
o traineeships for students of public and global health
• coordinate coalition meetings with diverse stakeholders on key campaigns
• meetings with policy-makers at EU, national and international institutional levels
• joint communications with members, including press releases, statements, events
• publish public health inputs to policy-makers including position papers, policy briefings
• present EPHA’s expertise at events in Brussels and around Europe, including member events
• contribute to expert and advisory groups, including for example the TTIP Advisory Group, the e-Health stakeholder group and the Patients and Consumers’ Working Party of the European Medicines Agency
• provide responses to EU public consultations, in coordination with members
• actively participate in key European civil society alliances including: Social Platform, Better Regulation Watchdog, Health and Environment Alliance, Mental Health in All Policies Alliance, the Semester Alliance. In 2016 we also actively contributed to the activities, positions and launch event of SDG Watch Europe.
In addition to the core activities outlined above, EPHA implemented work programmes on the following issues:
- Agricultural policy (food, alcohol, tobacco) and chronic diseases
- EU Semester for Health (macroeconomic governance)
- Healthy Trade policy
- Public health and research in the EU budget
- Fair and universal access to medicines
- Action on antimicrobial resistance
- Inclusive digital Health
- Health systems performance assessment
We also implemented a plan for organisational and membership development, and civil society capacity building programmes.
EPHA’s main events and publications per policy area in 2016 are as follows:
In the area of agricultural policy (food, alcohol, tobacco) and chronic diseases, EPHA published several landmark papers, including:
- Report: A CAP for Healthy Living
- Paper: 3 steps towards a healthy food future:ahead of the informal agriculture council in May
- Paper: Agiculture and Public Health Impacts and Pathways for better coherence
- Briefing: Self-regulation: a false promise for public health?
- Multi-NGO position paper NCDs, junk food, alcohol in AVMSD
We also hosted several well-attended events, including:
- Conference: ‘Towards a sustainable food policy’ event co-hosted with EEB at the Netherlands Permanent Representation, 11 March
- Transfatty acid reduction in foodstuffs conference, co-hosted with BEUC and the European Heart Network at the Hungarian Permanent Representation with MEP Gyorgy Holvenyi, 4 April
- Co-hosted event on Minimum Unit Pricing for Alcohol at Irish Permanent Representation, with EPHA Alcohol policy scientific advisor, Prof Nick Sheron, Sept.
- Co-hosted EP event with Changing Markets on fail of self-regulation in Food sector (with BEUC, Cancer Research UK)
- Co-hosted EP event on AVMSD + 40-NGO declaration on AVMSD + social media #ImproveAVMSD actions
In addition, we supported our members working on tobacco control and smokefree policies with a joint presses on the ECJ findings in favour of the Tobacco Products Directive and on tobacco companies’ contributions to anti-fraud actions.
EPHA was an active supporter of the #CAPCheck social media campaign, calling for a fitness check of the common agriculture policy to include a review of the health impacts and future policy to take a more holistic approach to food including setting health and nutrition objectives.
With regard to macroeconomic governance, our EU Semester for Health project included several articles and briefings analyzing the health implications of the different landmarks in the Semester process (Annual Growth Survey, Country Reports and Country Specific Recommendations) and links with other policy areas, including regional development and fundamental rights in access to healthcare,. We also released longer analytical reports, including:
Report: Universal Health Coverage, Sustainable Development and the Pillar of Social Rights
Briefing on health in Country Reports 2016, June
EPHA also drafted the health chapter of a country specific report EPHA contribution to Semester report Latvia health section (led by EPSU). We were actively involved in civil society coalitions, including the Semester Aliance and SDG Watch Europe, where we supported the launch event in October.
Also under this work programme, we coordinated EPHA members’ inputs to our response on the public consultation on the European Pillar of Social Rights, highlighting the need to invest adequate resources in health and other essential services, as well as inequalities and inclusion aspects.
In the area of Healthy Trade policy, EPHA published a series of position papers, including on Tobacco and public health in TTIP, concerns on revised TTIP regulatory coop proposal (together with T&E, EEB, EPHA, EHN, BEUC and TACD), Detailed comments on revised EU TTIP regulatory coop proposal regarding health. In addition we published several opinion articles, for example in Europe’s World and Politico and undertook social media work using #TTIP4Health and #CETA4Health.
We undertook analytical work into The Unhealthy Side Effects of CETA, published in December 2016, including case studies from several health stakeholder groups.
On Public health and research in the EU budget, the mid-term review process of the EU budget was postponed, but we nevertheless responded to all relevant consultations, including on Horizon2020. EPHA also participated in the OECD expert group on the Economics of Prevention, as well as speaking at several think tank events. EPHA participated in several Horizon2
In terms of results in EU policies, there are several examples of EPHA’s contributions to a positive evolution. The most prominent would be two sets of groundbreaking Council Conclusions under the Netherlands EU Council Presidency, on access to affordable medicines and antimicrobial resistance respectively. Both sets of Conclusions firmly placed these key issues on the EU policy agenda for further action, as EPHA has long been calling for. The Council Conclusions on medicines raised, for the first time, important questions on intellectual property, patents and potential barriers to affordability and access. The Conclusions on AMR establish a One Health Network, to ensure that AMR policies are developed from a holistic, intersectoral perspective, including health, agriculture, food and environmental aspects. The AMR Conclusions also raise the prospect of European targets to reduce prevalence of AMR and healthcare associated (drug resistant) infections and excessive consumption of antimicrobials in both human and animal medicine, which EPHA had been calling for.
EPHA also noted significant process in the Semester process milestones during 2016, with better recognition of health spending as an investment and a vital contributor towards the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, which include realization of universal health coverage and dramatic reduction of non-communicable diseases. An important recognition of the harmful health and social impacts of austerity – which EPHA has been raising for many years - has led to a pledge from the Commission to publish a European Social Rights Pillar in 2017, which will include a focus on access to healthcare and long-term care.
We hosted several major events during 2016, which were key moments to demonstrate policy progress. At the event on sustainable food systems and the future of food and agriculture policy, at the Netherlands Permanent Representation in March, there was a strong consensus from stakeholders on the need for a future integrated sustainable food policy, and a sustainability check of the current CAP. This was followed up with the #CAPCheck social media campaign, which EPHA supported together with over 100 other civil society organisations and has led to a review. We co-hosted an event at the Hungarian Permanent Representation on limits for transfatty acids in foods, which – together with a joint letter published with major food producers – will lead to a future legislative proposal.
Our annual conference on AMR was an opportunity for the European Commission to reassure concerned health stakeholders and national governments that a new AMR Action Plan would be a priority for DG SANTE in 2017. EPHA’s major conference on access to affordable medicines at the Polish Permanent Representation was unprecedented in bringing together representatives of 20 Member States in discussing follow up on the Council Counclusions.
2016 was the year where the potential negative health impacts of EU international trade policies, including CETA and TTIP, were seriously discussed. In a series of position papers and via EPHA’s seat on the TTIP Advisory Group to the European Commission, we were able to raise manifold concerns. In particular, civil society concerns about the potential of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause, including potential abuse by health-harmful industries especially tobacco, were instrumental in convincing the European Commission to withdraw the ISDS proposal and replace with an improved proposal for a multilateral investment court. The latter proposal still does not address all health concerns, but marks a significant improvement and recognition of legitimate civil society objections.
Civil society public health capacity building remains a priority in all EPHA activities. During 2016, we were able to significantly expand our Roma Health Fellowship programme, which will enable us to train more young Roma health advocates in future. EPHA’s cl
During 2016, EPHA published 149 total posts, of which, 22 press releases, 18 statements, 10 open letters, as well as position papers, discussion papers, policy recommendations, consultation responses, blog posts and articles.
Please see https://epha.org/in-the-media-2016/ for a curated selection of EPHA coverage in worldwide media.
We estimate our total monthly outreach to be approx. 8200 readers / followers, including newsletter readers, mailings and individuals accessing website. We actively target around 300 press contacts, 600 MEPs, 45 Health and Environment Ministers.
With regard, in particular, to our analytical reports on the international trade negotiations and the European Semester process and the impacts, risks and opportunities for public health, we have received specific positive feedback from DG SANTE. Our briefings on transfats, AVMSD (advertising of unhealthy products to children), CETA/TTIP impacts on health were particularly welcomed by MEPs. Our inputs to DG Trade via the TTIP Advisory Group have also been appreciated, indicated by the fact some wording has been taken up in more recent negotiating texts, particularly on exclusion of publicly funded health services and the ‘right to regulate’ in the public (health) interest. Our reports on the CAP and health impacts appears to have been recognised by DG AGRI, and have been very much appreciated by the range of other stakeholders calling for CAP reform.
With regard to dissemination of invitations to events, we noted a further positive trend in attendance of our workshops and seminars, as well as the annual conference (ca 260 registrations) – which indicates that we are reaching our target audiences and that the themes and quality of the discussions are appreciated.
In total we achieved 1220 registrations for 14 events that we hosted or co-hosted during 2016 (approx. 25% increase on 2015).
From mid-2016 we improved our dissemination capacity by launching our new website at www.epha.org. Supported by EPHA’s social media presence, traffic to the website increased for the new site, which is considerably more user-friendly and has received very positive feedback from EPHA members and other stakeholders.
EPHA’s specific objectives for each work programme were broadly achieved. Milestones were met and deliverables delivered. In relation to the OPG and annual organisational workplan, we undertake regular progress monitoring and evaluation, with quarterly review meetings with the team looking at deliverables and milestones. In addition, we hold weekly team meetings, monthly board meetings and monthly meetings with the membership to review progress and appraise actions.
During 2016, we estimate EPHA staff had around 280 policy meetings with representatives of EU institutions. We responded to 19 formal consultations and 9 policy-relevant studies and over 30 meetings of 19 expert / advisory groups. In addition, EPHA is represented in 14 civil society groups or boards.