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Health and the life continuum from a gender perspective

EPF was proud to partner with the European Men’s Health Forum (EMHF), the European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), and Men’s Health Society (MHS), to organise a landmark conference on Gender and Health Through Life on 14-15 June in Copenhagen, Denmark. The conference was supported by the Danish Ministry of Gender Equality and was attended by over 270 participants from over 30 countries. The European Institute for Women’s Health, the European Public Health Alliance and Mental Health Europe all participated actively. Please click here for a copy of the programme.

Dr. Svend Aage Madsen, chairman of the conference and Vice President of European Men’s Health Forum, stated:”The object of the conference was to show the importance and relevance of gender in terms of health. It is my hope that this conference will make health care administrators and politicians aware of the many advantages of seeing health policies and health care systems from a gender perspective and act on this” 
The conference was opened by  the Danish Minister for Gender Equality, Manu Sareen who made a powerful statement on the role of gender in health “looking at gender and health differences will undoubtedly benefit men, women and society particularly because men and women have differing knowledge  of and attitudes towards  healthcare “

EPF Vice President Susanna Palkonen gave a presentation that focussed on the gender dimension of patient-centred chronic disease management. She made reference to the EPF Value+ Handbook which aims at facilitating patients’ involvement in European projects: “Gender should definitively be considered in relation to health. Women and men should be treated equally wherever they have common needs. At the same time, their differences should be addressed in an equitable manner.”

Nicola Bedlingon, EPF Director chaired a number of sessions and also participated in a special ‘mock trial’ on ageing that stressed the importance of valuing older people, regardless of their health status, and their contribution to society.

The conference closed with a resume of the recommendations collected during the two day session from Dr Ian Banks, President of the European Men’s Health Forum and member of the EPF Policy Advisory Group. He concluded: “If we ever needed confirmation that women’s and men’s health organisations need to work more closely together for the benefit of both sexes then this conference supplied the evidence by the bucketful.”

These recommendations will be made available on the EMHF website shortly.

EPF will continue to engage with EMHF and the European Institute for Women’s Health to support gendered health policies, from our perspective representing patients already diagnosed with a chronic disease and the gender specific research, information, treatment and support that this implies.

The critical role of health literacy was reiterated throughout the Conference –as was the importance of collaboration, trust and leadership in moving forward. EPF looks forward to working with allies in this field in the future and looks forward to the next Conference in Ireland that will bring together key players to transform the Copenhagen recommendations into tangible action.

For more information – please contact Ian Banks at ian.banks@emhf.org.