Conference for more inclusive communities PDF Print E-mail
Written by Karolina   
Wednesday, 04 July 2012 11:07

Second Conference on Health Inequalities, organized in connection to the HEPROGRESS project, took place in Sarpsborg, Østfold County on 15 – 16 May 2012. More than 100 politicians, health practitioners and administrators from Latvia, Norway and Poland took part in the conference. Local coordinators of Healthy Cities from Norwegian Healthy Cities Network were also present.

The purpose of the conference was to further discuss the challenge of social inequalities in health within the politicians, decision makers and planners in order to raise their awareness of the issue, as well as to support the creation of ideas to counteract the inequalities and their consequences.

-       It is crucial to make communities and the society in general more inclusive and participatory and less exclusing and marginalising with its meaningless waste of human resources, says Niels K. Rasmussen, Project Manager.

That is the main goal of HEPROGRESS which was developed and implemented in Norway (Østfold County) and Latvia (Vidzeme Region) since December 2010.

During the first part of the conference, the participants received the introduction to the Norwegian discourse and documentation of inequalities in health and the challenges they bring to the Nordic welfare model. Plenary speakers from Norway, represented by Inger-Christin Torp, Asbjørn Wahl, Prof. Camilla Ihlebæk, Prof. Nils Aarsæther and Arve Negaard discussed about the development and change of the welfare state, how to maintain the social capital or how to ensure that the citizens are healthy. All speaches give the excellent input to the project work and development of the policies.

conferencemay3 Photos: Gunnar A. Hjorthaug

 In the next part of the conference, both the   Norwegian and Latvian partners, working in their national groups, were reflecting on the preliminary results coming from the Health Survey, conducted by the HEPROGRESS project in municipalities in Østfold and Vidzeme. The aim of this work was to discuss which policy and intervention areas should and could be targeted, knowing the results. The ways how to use the data and limitations of the data were presented.

Finally, the results from the important project activity, Sector Screening, were shown to the participants.

After the conference, on the 17 May, the Norwegian National Day, the Latvian guests took part in the unique celebratons and activities, which bear witness of an extraordinary high level of social participation and social capital among Norwegians.

The response to the conference was very high.

-       All days were very inspring. I really appreciate the visit and thing how much from this we learned here, we can use in Latvia, what kind of Norwegian solutions could be applied in my work, said one of the participants, coming from Priekuli municiaplity in Latvia.

Download the Conference Programme in English here

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