The first meeting of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) National Focal Points (NFPs) for Communication took place from 15 to 17 October 2013, at ECDC in Stockholm, Sweden, and is planned to be held on a biennial basis. The meeting’s agenda was divided into three thematic areas, according to ECDC’s activities and its liaisons with European Union (EU) member states, and emphasis was given mainly to health communication. More specifically, the meeting focused on:
- research for efficient/proper health communication practices
- availability of tools and resources
- development/strengthening of skills and expertise.
Each topic was presented by both rapporteurs and ECDC staff, including working group activities/exercises and assessment reports.
The aim of the meeting was to set a common ground for future co-operation between ECDC and new NFPs for Communication, emphasizing the needs of EU member states and, at the same time, the best ways of dealing with them. The results of this first meeting were productive, as specific objectives were defined. Among others:
- to discuss the process of working together
- to identify areas for mutual co-operation in the promotion of European public health in support of the goals set by the new EU initiative regarding serious cross-border threats to health, by strengthening core capacities, in particular risk/crisis communication as preparedness to respond to (public health) emergencies
- to clarify the role of NFPs in co-operation with ECDC and the European Commission, under the Health Security Communications Network
- to clarify the role of the NFPs.