RHN 19th annual conference. Health and well-being: from an early start in life to healthy ageing

14-16 June 2012, St Petersburg, Russian Federation

The conference was organized by the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and Regions for Health Network (RHN) members were invited to share the proceedings and hold their Annual General Meeting in parallel. The productive synergy of sharing thoughts and ideas on similar agendas was noted by many participants.

Through Health 2020 the two WHO networks share goals to "significantly improve the health and well-being of populations, reduce health inequalities, strengthen public health and ensure people-centred health systems that are universal, equitable, sustainable and of high quality". To achieve these goals it is helpful to look at how others are trying to accomplish the same task, and this conference was an excellent opportunity to do just that.

RHN members undertook a number of actions to refocus, reshape and renew common work. For example, good practice is being undertaken in places such as Usti nad Lebem in the Czech Republic, as well as approaches to the social determinants of health in the Vologda Region in Russia. RHN members also heard proposals about how to go forward from this event, drawing together knowledge and expertise to approach shared goals. This meeting was a catalyst for change to help put RHN aspirations into practice.

Some elements that emerged from discussions were:

  • the need to foster and sustain political engagement;
  • the need to build capacity to implement the Health 2020 agenda;
  • the need to work with the whole of society to achieve aims; and
  • the need to produce targeted health intelligence.