Highlights of day 3: 24 October 2014

WHO

Plenary session

Designing healthy cities, city tourism and health

The morning plenary session of Friday, 24 October 2014 included five presentations which offered some insight into the following aspects of design:

  • social, economic and environmental challenges;
  • economic benefits; and
  • the needs of vulnerable population groups.

This session was chaired by Pantelis Xyridakis, Mayor, City of Filothei-Psychiko, while Anastasios Liaskos, Secretary General of the Ministry of Tourism, Greece, addressed a greeting to the conference.

Some keynote speeches were also delivered:

  • “Work and health in urban populations – how to reduce vulnerability”, by Johannes Siegrist, Senior Professor for Work Stress Research, University of Düsseldorf, Germany; and
  • “Designing healthy cities”, by Bianca Hermansen, Architect, Urban Designer, Cititek, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Presentations were given by:
  • Yvonne Doyle, London Regional Director, Public Health, England; and
  • Rodd Bond, Programme Director, Netwell Centre, School of Health & Science, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland.

Round table 10: Urban design and health

Urban design in this context refers to the design and management of the public spaces, such neighbourhood design, layout and master-planning. The main purpose of this session was to try and establish whether there is a consensus on what healthy urban design means in practice, in the range of the different countries and cultures which were represented in the panel.The panel also discussed the key points that were raised in previous presentations.

Members of this round table were:
•    Bianca Hermansen;
•    Gayle Souter-Brown;
•    Rodd Bond;
•    Marianne Dock, and
•    Efi Bekou.

Facilitator: Professor Hugh Barton.

Round table 11: Promoting health and social inclusion in multicultural urban societies

This session focused on different perspectives on health promotion and social inclusion in multicultural societies. Participants explored the following questions:

  • How can work and employment serve to help social inclusion and health promotion?
  • What can cities do to foster social inclusion?
  • Which other key sectors should be involved, in addition to employment? What are the mechanisms?
  • Are there links at national and regional level that may help promote this?
  • How can cities bring together different cultures at local level, in particular in relation to different understandings of health and well-being? What can we do to take this into account?

Members of this round table were: Johannes Siegrist; Furio Honsell; Nils Fietje; Marie Connolly, and Kira Fortune.

Round table 12: Addressing the issue of drugs in cities

This round table focused on the revised strategy and the specific programmes that the Greek Organization against Drugs (OKANA) has implemented to address the drug issue in Greece during the economic crisis. The OKANA representatives explored various issues, such as:

  • the results of the implemented interventions and programmes;
  • the interventions targeting adolescent and juvenile young users (Atrapos project);
  • the life-saving substitution programmes that should be adopted by society;
  • the possible interventions targeting psychoactive-substance users that do not receive treatment; and
  • OKANA treatments targeting prison population.

European funds for the new programming period 2014 – 2020; opportunities for healthy municipalities

An interesting debate started among the Greek delegates during the master class which was organized by the Ministry of Health of Greece and coordinated by Zoë Rapti.

Vassilis Kontozamanis, Secretary General at the Ministry of Health of Greece, presented the situation of the health system in Greece and the role of structural funds in the implementation of the necessary reform, while Wim Van Lerberghe, Senior Adviser to Health Systems and the Health Reform Support Programme, WHO Europe, emphasized how it was possible to invest in primary health care through the support of structural funds.

Felix Mittermayer, representative of the task force for Greece at the European Commission, presented the outline of the Partnership Agreement for Programme Period 2014-2020, which was also commented by George Zervos, from the Ministry of Health of Greece, who stressed the importance to use social and health services at city level, under the coordination of the Ministry of Health.

Pantelis Xyridakis, the mayor of Philothei-Psychiko, emphasized the value of a holistic approach to health by local authorities, as well as the need for modernization and innovative solutions.

Brief interventions and comments were also given by Katerina Papakosta, the Deputy Minister of Health of Greece, and by Professor Aris Sissouras, the Director and Vice-President of the Hellenic Healthy Cities Network.

Plenary session 4: Health and the city in ancient Greece

Dr Stephanos Geroulanos, surgeon and Professor Emeritus of the history of medicine, as well as president of the International Hippocratic Foundation, gave an interesting presentation on the history of medicine. He shed some light on Hippocratic medicine as a catalyst for the evolution of medical science from a primitive reaction to the fear of nature into a sound scientific system.

He also emphasized how the holistic therapeutic approach offered by the ancient “Asklepieia” influenced every aspect of the medical science, from terminology to endoscopy procedures and surgical instruments. In the end he referred to the Hippocratic Oath as a landmark of medical ethics which transformed the medical profession into a mission.