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High-level policy making event “BUILDING AN IDEAHL EUROPE” at European parliament. Focus on digital empowerment and health literacy, co-sponsored by WHO Europe

On 7 March, the CEI-Executive Secretariat (CEI-ES) organised at the European Parliament in Brussels a high-level policy event, “BUILDING AN IDEAHL EUROPE”, focused on digital empowerment and health literacy. The goal was to engage and gain support of the policy-makers for the development of the European digital health literacy (DHL) strategy and its long-term sustainability, which is the aim of the IDEAHL (Improving Digital Empowerment for Active Healthy Living) project, funded under the Horizon Europe programme of the European Commission, of which the CEI-ES is a partner.

The event was co-sponsored by the WHO Office for Europe which had recently launched the Regional Digital Health Action Plan for the WHO European Region, where digital health literacy is a strategic objective. The CEI is engaged with WHO-Europe in a growing cooperation on strategic health issues.

The director of the Division of Country Health Policies and Systems at WHO Europe, Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat - who opened the event together with CEI Deputy Secretary General Nina Kodelja - the member of the European Parliament, Elena Lizzi and the representative from European Commission - stressed the importance of strengthening digital literacy skills and capacity-building in the general population, as well as the health workforce through digital health literacy programmes.

DSG Nina Kodelja also highlighted the important role digital health literacy played, defining it as a key challenge for a more inclusive society, and stressing that by strengthening European cooperation through IDEAHL,

we can contribute to creating conditions for promoting the health agenda for the wellbeing of European citizens. Strategic partnerships and collaboration with policy-makers are fundamental to link practices and policies to maximise the project’s impact in promoting healthier lifestyles, better health and interaction with health professionals across Europe, she said

The member of European Parliament Elena Lizzi highlighted, in particular, the importance of involving policy-makers, thus the European Parliament, as regards Horizon Europe projects, such as IDEAHL; she also pointed out that DHL was a crucial part of the Data Act which was currently being finalised and would soon be submitted to the European Parliament for its final approval.

The event - where the partners (consortium) of the project explained the preliminary findings of the project activities as well as the roadmap for the co-creation of strategy - was attended by around 150 policy-makers, representatives of national and regional authorities, academia, as well as regional organisations, such as the South Eastern Europe Health Network, dealing with health issues. Best practices from institutions, country and regional examples were also presented, in order to foster further exchange of experience in this area.  

The CEI is a partner of the IDEAHL project funded under the Horizon Europe programme of the European Commission. The objective of IDEAHL is  empowering EU citizens in using digital tools and taking a more active role in the management of their own health and well-being, as well as supporting innovations for coordinated person-centered care models. For this reason, IDEAHL is developing and testing new models and approaches of digital health literacy intervention development and application through the co-creation of a digital health literacy strategy at European level. The Strategy focuses on health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and (self-) care.

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