National Healthy Cities Network conference held in Poland

Marta Malinowska-Reich

Opening address by Dr Paulina Karwowska

The 25th national conference of the Polish Healthy Cities Network, held in Torun on 5–7 October 2016, gathered together representatives of the Network, the Ministry of Health and local government.

Poland’s Network, created in 1993, now comprises more than 30 cities from across the country, both large and small. Among them, Lodz and Poznan are also members of the European Healthy Cities Network.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Health though whole life-course”. It focused on the strategic goals of the National Health Programme (2016–2020), which is in line with the European policy framework Health 2020. Conference topics were consistent with the priorities outlined in the sixth phase of the WHO Healthy Cities Network (2014–2018), including reducing health inequalities and promoting shared responsibility for health.

In her opening addresses, Dr Paulina Karwowska, Head of the WHO Country Office in Warsaw, concentrated on Health 2020, its relevance to local communities, and the role of local governance and partnership. She also highlighted the rejuvenation of the Healthy Cities Network process at the regional level.

Presenters gave special attention to the experiences and achievements of member cities in the area of preventive health care leading to citizens’ health and health-related attitudes, and to protection against social exclusion. They placed particular emphasis on:

  • the health of children and adolescents;
  • local government for seniors; and
  • effective prevention of addiction and violence.

The vivid presentations of city activities demonstrated that the vision and goals of Health 2020 are well known and are being implemented at the local level.